kais

TCS - Chapter 'Survival, Part I' - kais 12/25/17 3457 words (L)

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Forgot to include the language tag in the email. Much cursing. Our protagonist has a lot of range. If you could abbreviate names and places I would appreciate it!

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Comments :) 

  • Why would the language of A just be “made-up gibberish”?
  • As a story opening, I'm not bowled over. It seems rather intricate and wordy, lacking punch, lacking a hook to snag my attention.
  • “tried better to communicate” – or ‘tried to communicate better’. Anything but what’s on the page, imo :P 
  • “mellowed a lot of range rage
  • Why would the guard be defeated because the An had failed? A harvest(?) failing is not really a defeat, which is how the description sounds. Also, should be Guard officer, guardsman or something. I'm really not convinced ‘Guard’ should be capitalised here.
  • I guess if I was reading this as a devotee of the series, I would be intrigued, but I'm not sure I would be gripped or entertained. The story is called ‘Survival’, but I'm not feeling the stakes that are implied by the title.
  • “which N didn’t get at all.” – I feel like the word ‘get’ here is really weak, compared to ‘understand’, ‘couldn’t figure’
  • back-alley spaceport”
  • “She didn’t have a family” – She’s still got a family, unless she thinks they have disowned her? Unclear.
  • But her uncle’s not reaching across the stars, because she’s still in orbit around the planet, is she not?
  • I’m 3½ pages in and the biggest   question is how the Min knows N’s uncle. I appreciate that a completist might find this interesting, but at what point does it harm the main trilogy because it lacks the mystery, intrigue, action and/or stakes of a stand-alone short story with now associated IP?
  • I don’t really understand “recreation centre of the systems”. It’s crazy to think that each and evert planet would not have its own recreation centre. Think of Earth. How many recreation centres are there? 10, 15, 20 on one planet? The thought that you have to up and go to another planet to have fun is kind of ridiculous, surely.
  • “It’d be a place to get lost, where just another biped wouldn’t make any difference to anyone. No one would know who she was. Maybe she could find a job. An- help her, maybe she could call home.” – To me, this, at the foot of Page 5, is the conflict of the story, and the first time I’ve felt any real emotion from N or for her. I think you could really play up her being abandoned, set adrift by her people and left to die, and that this is a chance at salvation. I’ve just not feeling the depth of emotion that I would want to. I'm not feeling anything like desperation, or even anger or frustration, from N. For me, I think this should be way up near the front of the story.
  • box-type machine”
  • If the primer is a banned text, why didn’t they delete it? Seems convenient.
  • I’ve reached the start of the second scene on Page 7, and I'm trying to remember anything from the first scene that would dissuade me from suggesting that you start this story here, with N arriving at the spaceport, where there is the drama of the surroundings and the environment: the noise; the colour; N’s anger at everyone, including the Min. I’m not coming up with anything that could not be cut-and-pasted into the this second scene. I mean, metal coffins and cheating death? I just think there is already much more drama and tension in the first half page of this second scene.
  • Yes, as I continue to read, I’m confronted by N’s need to search for clothing and shelter, and having no material resources. The first scene starts with her being ‘rescued’, which automatically has less tension and conflict than this scene.
  • “it looks like a small animal has taken residence on your face” – Lol.
  • with maddening calmness” – ?
  • Yeah, the whole scene with the Ri- is much more entertaining and engaging, tense too, than the scene with the Min. The fact that both have a language barrier is realistic, of course, but second time around we’ve seen it already, although I think it is done better than the first time.

In enjoyed the second scene a good deal. I could have done without the first scene pretty much entirely, I think. I am very keen to read the next scene, as I am presuming that N will meet you-know-who. I’ still not feeling the title, because I just don’t feel there is any thread to N, so it’s not really a matter of survival. Judging from what she says, welfare services would have stepped in if she looked in any danger of starving, becoming suicidal, etc. etc.

Nice job on the second scene :D

<R>

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Hey--I agree with @Robinski! Imagine that!

This whole section didn't really hook me. I couldn't find a strong thread to the story, and there was no clear objective for N. I did like the second section better, but as Robinski says, it's mainly a lot of info about the different species and systems--stuff that we don't really need to know yet, and never found even out in the trilogy! I think you're heading to where N. and Y. meet, but there's no statement yet that N. is even looking for someone else. If that is what's going to happen, I'm interested to find out how...

 

pg 4: "She knew that from, well, right now."
--unessesary, since you just told us.

pg 4: probably don't need the list of their planets either. Does it come up later?

pg 6: Ok, so are the Minorans centaurs or horselike? Four legs and two hands, or just four legs?

pg 8: "Her pants were too short"
--huh? why? Oh, is that because she was wearing her talther's clothes? WRS.

pg 11: There's a lot of infodump about the Charted Systems and alien statistics in this one, more even than in the books, I think. I don't think I knew Ris. had claws!

pg 13: I'm assuming that's Yor.? But I thought they met on Mars?

pg 14: What does N. have against Journey Youth?

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On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

Why would the language of A just be “made-up gibberish”?

Because N is in hot denial of A's existence?

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

It seems rather intricate and wordy, lacking punch, lacking a hook to snag my attention.

Argh! So one of my goals for this book was to spend more time worldbuilding, as I wanted to fill in a lot of gaps. I was planning on doing this through the origin stories, as the characters learn about the Systems. This chapter was N's first encounter with outside species, and I was going for 'depressed wonder', but sounds like I hit closer to info dump?

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

Why would the guard be defeated because the An had failed?

Good point. That was not well clarified.

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

The story is called ‘Survival’

Yeah, this story needs a better name. Right now it's best descriptor would be 'Petty Annoyances Send N Into Contract With Gigantic Terran'.

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

is she not?

Correct. Fixing now

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

because it lacks the mystery, intrigue, action and/or stakes of a stand-alone short story with now associated IP?

I wonder if I should play up emotions more? I wanted this first part to show how serious the president was, in that she wasn't straight up exiled, she was exiled and left to die. Maybe starting a little earlier with the near-starvation? I dunno. Open to suggestions. The arc of this story is supposed to be A) understanding how severe this exile is, B.) realizing she is woefully underprepared to be out alone, C) getting oriented in the Systems (including developing a dislike of Ris and J. Youth, and eventually, D), getting N into the situation where she is desperate enough to take a job with a tramp transport captain. I really want to draw parallels with Nick's personal journey in book one, to show why Ne is always on his case (him being coddled a lot more than she ever was, under similar circumstances, although many of those circumstances are by her own doing).

Help?
 

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

“recreation centre of the systems”

It's not the only focus, it's just what the system is known for. It's one of those things I'd like to explain at some point, but it'd take an adventure on one of the planets to do so. Actually, that might be kind of fun...

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

I think you could really play up her being abandoned, set adrift by her people and left to die, and that this is a chance at salvation. I’ve just not feeling the depth of emotion that I would want to. I'm not feeling anything like desperation, or even anger or frustration, from N. For me, I think this should be way up near the front of the story.

Check. I like this idea. More desperation!

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

why didn’t they delete it? Seems convenient.

You're right! Forgot the why!

On 12/26/2017 at 2:05 PM, Robinski said:

Judging from what she says, welfare services would have stepped in if she looked in any danger of starving, becoming suicidal, etc. etc.

Yes, this is the pesky problem with the world I've created. She's never in any real danger once she gets rescued, but then again, Ne doesn't know that. Instead, I'm trying to build up slights through micro aggressions, so I'll be curious next week to see how well those are picked up.

Thank you, as always! Off to edit now!

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On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

This whole section didn't really hook me.

I deleted the whole first segment, on @Robinski's suggestion. Hopefully that brings up the tension. 

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

and never found even out in the trilogy

One of my goals was to give more Systems background in this than in the books. I was trying to add a bit more filler to this, but I confess I don't really know how to do that gracefully. I'll just keep trying different angles and hopefully you all will keep telling me when it doesn't work!

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

I think you're heading to where N. and Y. meet,

Yes, this is the end goal for the N origin story, but she's got to be in a pretty desperate place to sign on with him, so I have to get her there, first. That's what I'm trying to do with this story, but clearly failing. Your comment about not knowing where this is going is spot on. I need to get a through line in here. 

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

Oh, is that because she was wearing her talther's clothes? WRS.

Yeah. All I'm trying to do is show that she sticks out.

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

I don't think I knew Ris. had claws!

This was a late stage edit in AFD!

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

There's a lot of infodump about the Charted Systems and alien statistics in this one,

By design. Too much?

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm assuming that's Yor.? But I thought they met on Mars?

Yes, that's Yor. They officially meet on Mars, but that's the next short. First we must break Ne down to desperation.

On 12/27/2017 at 9:27 AM, Mandamon said:

What does N. have against Journey Youth?

What I'm trying to set up, and clearly failing at, is that N sees herself as an adult, ready for adult responsibility, and she's had that taken away from her (via the president), and now the Ris are trying to take away what little agency she has left. It grates. She's always pushed against the flow, and had arguments, and now she's in a world where everyone is super polite and and nice and doesn't yell, because she's a kid and doesn't know better. And it's suppose to make her angry as heck, as well as set up (based upon the upcoming microaggressions), how she still had a somewhat difficult life as a youth, and Nick didn't, thereby setting up their antagonism in AFD.

But clearly, I need to work on this a lot. To edits! Thank you!!

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Well, the sibling is married and the parties have partied, the certificates certified and the bills paid, so now I can think about other things in my free time.

With v2 out already and in my list tbr, I won't belabor too much here. I agree with most of the comments already made.

What I am mostly struck by here is this: are you writing another book, or a short story? This reads like a chapter, frankly. And that's fine -- if you're doing a novelette or novella or something. Maybe it's what you should make Ne's origin into! The first installment read more like a chapter, too, though not as much as this one. Short stories, even longer ones have a different pattern and narrative flow. 

I'm not sure every negative or less-than-positive emotion needs to be associated with some flavor of "smug" -- it's one of your go-to words, and it's not bad for some instances, but not all of them.  "Sanctimonious" is one of my favorites for "condescension with religious or moral overtones."

It feels like to me Ne getting saddled with the Journey Youth designation is the point of the story, and how that goes against the fact that she's been treated as an adult for 4 years prior to this, but that's just covered in the last bit. It's awfully convenient that she knows so much correct information about what I'm guessing would be a pretty heavily indicted, propaganda-swathed, disfavored program on her homeworld. I am much more interested in Ne figuring out her only options are death or another enforced childhood than basically the first 2/3 of this piece. I'd also love to actually see some of these callow, feckless Journey Youth that Ne disparages so consistently. Ni, our only other example of this phenomenon, started off kind of doofy in bk1, but he was a good, competent kid when things got heavy and so I don't think he really counts as an example. He's clearly set up as an exception. Basically, I just want to read space-versions of your best stupid teenager stories with Ne inserted to snark in appropriate places. :3 

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2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

are you writing another book, or a short story?

I'm...not sure? I'm drafting, mainly. There are three Ne shorts, so they might get comboed into a novella at the start. I think Nick's and Y's will be just shorts though. I've got a few more tertiary shorts I want to do, then I want another novella at the end (the 'one year later' tie up). I'd thought Ne would just be one short but it's definitely mutated into something else.

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I am much more interested in Ne figuring out her only options are death or another enforced childhood than basically the first 2/3 of this piece.

think I did this better in the new one?

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I'd also love to actually see some of these callow, feckless Journey Youth

Unlikely to happen, unless I add another short.

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Basically, I just want to read space-versions of your best stupid teenager stories with Ne inserted to snark in appropriate places. :3 

The youth aren't really problematic, is the thing. I'm not sure how to get that across. Ne doesn't want to be a part of them, and feels she has moved past that time in her life, so that's coloring her worldview. But I'm not really showing that well, it seems. Maybe the new version will be better? I look forward to all comments. And congrats on surviving the Very Formal Ceremonies! 

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2 minutes ago, kais said:

I'm...not sure? I'm drafting, mainly.

...grumble grumble pantsers grumble grumble... 

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