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Robinski

Robinski - Slaves of Us All v2.0 (S references)

20 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Soooo,

I've had another go at this, which I think reflects the key comments from last time. Does that mean it's improved? I don't know!!

Any comments very much welcomed.

Kind regards, Robinski

Edited by Robinski
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I never read the first try so I have a question - is this standalone or is it part of something bigger?

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9 hours ago, Gustaf Taen said:

I never read the first try so I have a question - is this standalone or is it part of something bigger?

Hey there, Gustaf - welcome to Reading Excuses!

It's intended as a stand-alone. 

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- It's been a few weeks since I read the original, but the opening seems a lot clearer to me. 

- I like the interplay between Leama and Thepaten.

- I like that the solution is a little more detailed, a little more solid.

- My only criticism is the solutions - as drastic as they are - occur to them a bit too easily. It would be good if they had at least one try/fail cycle before they reached that part.

- Otherwise, I really like this story - and the conclusion.  

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7 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

- My only criticism is the solutions - as drastic as they are - occur to them a bit too easily. It would be good if they had at least one try/fail cycle before they reached that part.

Thanks RD, comments much appreciated. And this one is spot on - thank you. I really must do that, it will be a good improvement :)  

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Posted (edited)

As I get it, Leama loves Thepaten - and it is not possible for her to not know his condition.

Other minor things that I would observe - Thepaten is in a difficult moment, I dont think he is interested in sex at this point, and - I would leave the "penis" part out, it distracts from the story, in my opinion, as I feel the story is about love.

As RD mentioned - they come to a solution very quick, too quick, after only several dialogue exchanges. There is too much "understanding" going on on each line of dialogue. Since the last line is obviously important, as it is also the title, maybe you could do away with the dialogue and describe the story unfolding over several days or months, with only one dialoge line, the last one.

The ideea is worth the effort to make it better, one way or the other.

Edited by Gustaf Taen
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Overall

This is definitely better! I think it just needs a bit of expansion near the end now, and it will work. I see everyone else has caught on the same thing. The interaction between the two is much better now, and doesn't ping the same warning bells as the last submission. Nice clean up! Going to sub it somewhere?

 

As I go

- that first sentence is pretty adjective heavy

- the paragraph that starts with 'the sun had dispelled' is confusing. I think it tries to add too much to a short story

- page three: so he's married to her now, but how did that come to pass. We have the backstory paragraph, which is good, but I'm unsure how his uncle's mercy ended up with them married? It sounds more like she was just a housekeeper?

- I'd like to see them struggle through how to make it work a bit more. The end comes too quickly and easily, and giving up sight is a big deal that should need some warming up to. Same with hearing

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16 hours ago, Robinski said:

Thanks RD, comments much appreciated. And this one is spot on - thank you. I really must do that, it will be a good improvement :)  

Thanks. I'm glad to be of help - I think you're really close to getting this story where it needs to be. 

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Hey Gustaf, many thanks for reading.

17 hours ago, Gustaf Taen said:

I would leave the "penis" part out, it distracts from the story, in my opinion, as I feel the story is about love.

Good point. I feel this is something that Thep. has been dealing with for sometime (months?), and therefore would not have given up all of lives pleasures, in fact he might well cling to those functions that he can perform without difficulty. This said - in the context of the story - the reader's perspective is different, so I think your point is a good one. So, I'll mull on that.

17 hours ago, Gustaf Taen said:

There is too much "understanding" going on on each line of dialogue.

Yes, this is a very good point, made by RDP, yourself and a chap who commented directly by email. I have inserted a couple of try-fails.

17 hours ago, Gustaf Taen said:

maybe you could do away with the dialogue and describe the story unfolding over several days or months, with only one dialoge line, the last one.

Ooh, that is an interesting one, and quite a challenge. I'll need to think on that.

Thanks so much for your comment. They are very helpful. I'm certainly going to work this idea some more. I might set it aside for a month, to let it 'mature', then take another look.

:) 

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Hey kais, thank you for reading. Always keen and trepidatious to read your comments ;) 

13 hours ago, kais said:

that first sentence is pretty adjective heavy

Yeah, it's a bit melodramatic, isn't it - maybe a bit purple. I'll review again.

13 hours ago, kais said:

I'm unsure how his uncle's mercy ended up with them married

Arranged marriage - almost negotiated, perhaps, as it is a second marriage for him. I have tweaked a couple of those references, but will consider further.

13 hours ago, kais said:

I'd like to see them struggle through how to make it work a bit more.

Yes, this is in now, everyone has mentioned it, which is great, because that makes it an 'easy' 'win'. Maybe.

I'm going to submit to Daily SF. What I need is experience in submitting, and their process seems easy and their turn around, according to Submission Grinder, is good. I think there are at least a couple more edits in it though.

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This might be because I'd read the first version, but I think this draft is less powerful than the last one.

The title is a lot better though. Until the last line I thought that it would turn out to be time that made slaves of us all.

L. really does seem to come up with the idea of holding the intonations in her memory for T.'s use rather quickly. But if you combine that with Gustaf's comment that it's unlikely (I prefer to avoid using the word impossible) that L. wouldn't have noticed T.'s problems it looks to me like you have two problems that are solutions to one another.

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Overall, while this is no longer overtly problematic and it hangs together better, I think the through line is getting muddled in the mix somewhere.

 
I'm also confused by why the element of coercion is necessary for what is otherwise a good, healthy, loving relationship. So, no overt slavery, but the woman is now apparently only with the man because she would have been sold into slavery otherwise?  And then somehow she indentured herself to an abusive relative of his? I'm a little unclear about that part. And then T "rescued" her by forcing her into another marriage where he only acquired her for housework? 
 
It doesn't take coercion for a beautiful young woman to marry an older man.  Desire for stability, security, prestige or status, or yes, even plain old love are all reasons someone would marry someone else twice their age. But all of these reasons are centered on the woman, and in a story this short, I'm not sure they're even necessary for the tale you're trying to tell. Does it truly matter why they're together, or just that they have a long-established partnership?  If it's trying to convey something about the woman, it's one of those things that're getting muddled up and lost in the mix.
 
The magic hangs together better and I don't mind the gibberish as much in this version.
 
"She was not too old" Why couldn't she just be a widow? I thought in these sorts of situations that once you were married the first time you were either "damaged goods" and no one would want you or your status as a widow meant you had some degree of autonomy.  Unless she really is just chattel, in which case her ownership would revert to either her previous owner (the uncle?) or her birth family, if any male (i'm assuming) relatives could be dug up.
 
"and every day in the garden, at the river, in the market" the way this sentence is set up, it's kinda saying they're, uh, pretty sexually adventurous....:ph34r:
 
"Certainly, those with reason to be there" So if women can be in the mens' halls "with reason" already why do they both have to cripple themselves to sell the ruse? Are ALL the women allowed in the mens' halls deafened and blinded in order to be there? Wouldn't a scribe or secretary shtick work as well? 
 
A large part of the twist in this story seems to be "a woman can have a good idea" and I feel like that's part of the reason why it's falling flat for me. Up until the twist, L doesn't do anything except be ogled and revered by T. She's less a character than an egoboo and a flat thing to bounce dialogue off of. If she's all that T thinks she is, give her some plot beats in addition to the twist. 
 
To reiterate, confusing implications aside, this isn't overtly problematic story anymore. It has much more internal logic, and doesn't feel as gimmicky as v1.  I think it's still several yards shy of the goalposts, however.
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I think the others have covered this pretty well, so I'll go over the points that most stood out to me:

1) Length. I also think this needs to be just a little longer, with some more try/fail. The solutions work, but are accepted very easily. Giving up sight/hearing is a big thing, so maybe they could consider less drastic measures first?

2) Sex vs. love: I'd also get rid of the more over sexual references. As I read it, this is about the love of many years between two partners. While that can contain physical sex, I read the theme of this as working with the love of two personalities who've come together. The sex references dilute that theme, I feel.

3) Subordinate woman: This is a lot better than the first one, but as @industrialistDragon says, this is sort of saying "oh hey, a woman can do this!" I think you could get a much better effect focusing on how T and L work as a pair, and will continue to do so, while adjusting their relationship to accommodate the changes that happen as we age.

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Thanks for the latest comments. guys. Some good thinking points in there. I will come back with responses in the next couple of days, or so :) 

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Posted (edited)

On 16/08/2017 at 10:13 AM, Eagle of the Forest Path said:

This might be because I'd read the first version, but I think this draft is less powerful than the last one.

The title is a lot better though. Until the last line I thought that it would turn out to be time that made slaves of us all.

L. really does seem to come up with the idea of holding the intonations in her memory for T.'s use rather quickly. But if you combine that with Gustaf's comment that it's unlikely (I prefer to avoid using the word impossible) that L. wouldn't have noticed T.'s problems it looks to me like you have two problems that are solutions to one another.

Thanks for the comments, Eagle. Very helpful. Less powerful is a pity, and ID said something similar, so I can't dismiss this as the ravings of a mad person ;):D I'm tinkering through this round of comment in Version 2.1, but have yet to do a complete read through, so that will hopefully reveal ways I can punch things up again. I feel that Le's thought process will be better in the next version.

Thanks again!! Much appreciated.

<R>

 

Edited by Robinski
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Posted (edited)

Hey ID, thank you for reading. It's good to know that the gibberish is starting to hang together!!

On 16/08/2017 at 2:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

And then T "rescued" her by forcing her into another marriage where he only acquired her for housework? 

I've tried to clarify this. That wasn't my intention; his uncle knew L's family and sought to make good from two bad situations. The importance of family is hard to encapsulate in so few words, but that's part of the test. Brevity, economy, effectiveness.

On 16/08/2017 at 2:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Desire for stability, security, prestige or status

I've tried to encapsulate and imply some of these things better in this version. More work to do.

On 16/08/2017 at 2:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

If it's trying to convey something about the woman

I've tried to show (but probably have told once or twice) how independently minded and forceful L is, to lead into the lengths that she will go to to protect her family.

On 16/08/2017 at 2:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

adventurous....:ph34r:

I've fixed this.

On 16/08/2017 at 2:09 PM, industrialistDragon said:

why do they both have to cripple themselves to sell the ruse?

I've changed 'reason' to 'approval to be there'. There is a stricture that is difficult to overcome. Good spot; it wasn't strong enough before.

The facts that L is female and has a good idea are not meant to be connected. I suppose I could switch the sexes of the characters around; might make an interesting experiment for a version of the story, but then there is more to set up in terms of how the society came into being, because of our society's explicit gender bias. I will think on that.

Great comments as always - thanks ID :) 

Edited by Robinski
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20 hours ago, Robinski said:

but then there is more to set up in terms of how the society came into being, because of our society's explicit gender bias

Or don't explain it at all, and toy with everyone's biases!!

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On 18/08/2017 at 5:17 AM, kais said:

Or don't explain it at all, and toy with everyone's biases!!

Ooh, you are so Machiavellian sometimes :lol:  Good idea, of course. After another edit, I might try switch the genders; just for fun.

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Quote

She stirred just then [MJ1] beneath the white sheet, no doubt from the growing light, since he had not intoned and sought to enter her mind. [MJ2] 


 [MJ1]I think you could cut these two

 [MJ2]Does this sentence work grammatically? Maybe you need to indicate he is guessing.  You use the words ‘no doubt’ and then say he is not using the one method that would ensure there would be no doubt.

Quote

looked down at his hands, somewhat wrinkled, but not yet liver-spotted. [MJ1] 


 [MJ1]Is this a conscious for ‘Voice’?  If you are worried about word count, you could shorten it.

Name/Title inspected his hand: Wrinkled but not yet liver-spotted.

Quote

The lines again[MJ1]  confirmed the fear he increasingly tried to deny.


 [MJ1]unecessary

Quote

 [MJ1]I see the change you make, but I think this line is missing some of its punch.  She’d never been afraid like so many of the doe-eyed women who’d been intimidated by his imposing appearance…

Quote

“You make it too [MJ1] weak.”


 [MJ1]I’d cut ‘too’

Quote

The well-worn track traversed[MJ1]  a thousand, thousand times.


 [MJ1]Adding ‘he’d’ might make it clearer.

Quote

He watched her pour, unable to ignore the very literal scars of her past, none from him[MJ1] .


 [MJ1]scars of her life before him.

Quote

Her nose, not quite straight from a former[MJ1]  break;


 [MJ1]slanted from an old break

Quote

Her quick mouth had soon become apparent.[MJ1] 


 [MJ1]You should rephrase this or cut it.

Quote

 [MJ1]This line doesn’t work for me.

Quote

 [MJ1]This is a powerful line.  Could you slip in a hint that he’s forgotten some of their past too? 

Quote

 [MJ1]This could be a hint that she’d noticed his memory loss in small moments already.

Quote

 [MJ1]I think you can find a more powerful line here.

Quote

“Don’t you see, love, how our hearts happily make slaves of us all[MJ1] ?”


 [MJ1]Nailed it.  This ending is better than the last one.  I like this story.  There are few places I mentioned where you can improve the impact of the lines, but all in all I enjoy it.  I appreciate how your M/C loves his wife, but he reveals his flaws in the way he thinks.  His overall reaction is surprise that his wife cut the Gordian Knot when she has a history of doggedly working to protect the quality of her life. I think you portray the flaws in their culture through the M/C and reveal a truth. Based on the presence of other women in a place where it seems they don’t frequent, I ‘m  left wondering if others have tried other, but similar tricks to what these two are trying.  

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Hey Mr. Puddles - many thanks for the comments, much appreciated. There's some good stuff in here. I've made various adjustments, including;

On 21/08/2017 at 6:51 AM, M.Puddles said:

Adding ‘he’d’ might make it clearer.

Yes, I like this one.

On 21/08/2017 at 6:51 AM, M.Puddles said:

scars of her life before him.

Definitely - I've tweaked a bit.

On 21/08/2017 at 6:51 AM, M.Puddles said:

How much he needed her, loved her. - This line doesn’t work for me.

I've cut 'loved her' - you're right; better to show it by the first part - no need to tell.

On 21/08/2017 at 6:51 AM, M.Puddles said:

Could you slip in a hint that he’s forgotten some of their past too?

I've sought to do that - subtly (I hope!). 

On 21/08/2017 at 6:51 AM, M.Puddles said:

I like this story. 

Awesome. I really appreciate your comments, and I feel like there are some real improvements made here. Overall, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. I've really enjoyed incorporating this round of comments and seeing the story improve. Really appreciate your comments here.

I am going to let it rest for a spell. Try it on some 'live' readers (as opposed to virtual ones :P ) and see how it lands.

Thank you everyone!!!

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