Paracosmic_nomenclator

02/12/18 - Paracosmic_Nomenclator - The Course of Aeons - 5698 words

10 posts in this topic

This one is really long, pretty weird, and probably not all that great. Still, it was one of those things where I just had to write it before I could move on to anything else. I just spent a few hours cutting it down from 7.5k words, so if there are any parts that feel really off, that's probably why. Still let me know about them, though.

 
It's good to be posting here again. I've missed this group, and I'll be trying to write, upload, and critique more often. Thanks a bunch,
 
~PN
 
P.S. I guess the genre of this would be, "epoch fantasy." hahaha, oh, how droll am I. Wait, somebody made that exact same play on words while I was gone? damnation you, Chuck, I was really proud of that!
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Aww, we missed you, too!

Overall

I loved this. I'm devoutly religious but also very aware of the insular nature of the religious, and this was a very well constructed piece. It had some lag in the middle, and the end was broadcasted perhaps a bit too early, but overall I thought this packed a good punch and was very engaging. Not a lot to add except nice work!

 

As I go

- looking out at the docks isn't the strongest of cold opens

- page two: wood nerd alert! Stain on a ship, especially in salt water, would not last long

- page three: if she didn't intend to kill anyone, why threaten? If they call her bluff she looses all credibility

- page five: I'm enjoying the language translation issues a lot. I speak a number of languages and these really hit true to form

- page thirteen: the narrative is wandering through here. It's hard not to skim, as I keep looking for the through-line. The conflict is relatively clear, but I'm still not sure what the purpose is, and I don't have much, if any, empathy for our MC. I'm very interested in the barbarian woman though

- page 17: how did L write the number 2,000 in her book if they can only count to 14?

 

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This was excellent. The pacing was great, I didn't find that it lagged overmuch, and I was into it from the first page. And that reveal at the end...wow. So good. It hit all the right emotional buttons.

Nothing else to add except thanks for subbing! I enjoyed this immensely and will hold out hope that we'll see more of this world.

 

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I also thought this was really well done. It did get slightly slow in the middle, but I didn't even get to the point of making a note about it before the pace picked back up. Good job on editing it down from 7.5k. I think at that length, it would have been too long, but this was just about perfect.

Coming from a mathematical background, I thought the description of L. drawing the circle and translating it in to a globe with longitude lines and a search pattern was very good. I could instantly see what she was doing.

About a page away from the end, I was seeing how things had to come out and knowing D's character from what you had built up, trying to figure a way out for L. It almost comes across as telegraphed, but I think that was because I could see how D would react. I want there to be another ending possible, but I don't know if it would detract from D's realization.

On 2/12/2018 at 10:29 PM, kais said:

- page 17: how did L write the number 2,000 in her book if they can only count to 14?

I had this same thought, but assumed this could be attributed to L actually knowing how numbers work and being able to transcribe into a different base for the "civilized" D, considering her civilization taught D's about math.

Very much enjoyed this!

Edited by Mandamon
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This did not grab me the way it did for the others. It definitely got long for me in the middle too. I was much more interested in the travelers than I was in the POV character and her country. It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, and I didn't dislike it, I just don't really have much to say about it. 

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On 2/12/2018 at 7:29 PM, kais said:

- page two: wood nerd alert! Stain on a ship, especially in salt water, would not last long

Curses! My lack of wood-related knowledge rears its ugly head again. I'll look into that, thanks for letting me know.

On 2/12/2018 at 7:29 PM, kais said:

- page five: I'm enjoying the language translation issues a lot. I speak a number of languages and these really hit true to form

Great! As someone who only speaks one language (is monolingual? unilingual?), that's really cool to hear.

On 2/12/2018 at 7:29 PM, kais said:

- page 17: how did L write the number 2,000 in her book if they can only count to 14?

She writes with the Riyuna numerals. Basically, imagine if the largest number we had a word for in english was "a dozen," but we still used arabic numerals.

On 2/13/2018 at 5:57 AM, Truthweaver said:

And that reveal at the end...wow. So good. It hit all the right emotional buttons.

Yay! Thanks.

On 2/14/2018 at 11:16 AM, Mandamon said:

trying to figure a way out for L. It almost comes across as telegraphed, but I think that was because I could see how D would react. I want there to be another ending possible, but I don't know if it would detract from D's realization.

Since it isn't specified who D shoots, there are two endings possible, one of which gives L access to a loaded revolver, and the element of surprise.

On 2/14/2018 at 11:16 AM, Mandamon said:

L actually knowing how numbers work and being able to transcribe into a different base for the "civilized" D, considering her civilization taught D's about math.

Yup. One of the things I cut was the "revelation" that the numbers the Course Empire had invented actually came from the Course Nomads.

On 2/14/2018 at 5:01 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I was much more interested in the travelers than I was in the POV character and her country.

Good. The basic idea of this story was a person/people who were able to witness the course (no pun intended) of history. It went through a number of iterations, including a far-future sci-fi story where someone took thousand-year trips at relativistic speeds that only lasted a week for him, and a version of this story, but from L's perspective. If the travellers were the most interesting part, then it means I accomplished what I wanted.

 

About it getting long in the middle. I had a lot of conversation and exposition all crammed in there, and wasn't sure how much of it I should or shouldn't remove. If you could tell me what parts/passages specifically you found yourself getting bored on, I'd be greatly appreciative.

Thanks a bunch for the feedback,

~PN

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11 hours ago, Paracosmic_nomenclator said:
18 hours ago, Mandamon said:

trying to figure a way out for L. It almost comes across as telegraphed, but I think that was because I could see how D would react. I want there to be another ending possible, but I don't know if it would detract from D's realization.

Since it isn't specified who D shoots, there are two endings possible, one of which gives L access to a loaded revolver, and the element of surprise.

Oh wow--I did not even realize that! I assumed D would shoot L, to keep the information from getting out to her empire. I didn't even think about D shooting herself, but if that happened, L could technically go to the next in command and see if they were more willing to listen.

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I really liked this. I want more but I also loved the way it ended. The middle I felt wasn't hard to get through but I love exploring cultures so the cultural exchanges going on was really neat to me. I don't have a lot more to say, a lot of my questions were cleared up in previous posts. 

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I read this on Monday, just re-skimmed now, and have to say I like the flow. The ending was great. If D kills herself, that would blow my mind. The fact that it can be read both ways is pretty awesome. It has me itching to read the next chapter to find out. 

I was digging the whole idea of L's people. That was a blast. 

D's threat was cool. I didn't like that she didn't want to have to go through with it. It took away some of her thunder. I wanted her to be ruthless, which is why I thought she killed L at the end. 

The exchange between D and L was well done and sucked me in again during my re-skim. 

Now, just tell me if D killed herself. She did, didn't she? damnation...

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Good to have you back and read something else from you.

  • hulls coruscating” – Hmm, I'm not convinced about iron coruscating. Shiny iron = steel, doesn’t it? Otherwise, iron is pretty dull, isn’t it?
  • and the ships neared” – blocking: I'm not sure which ship(s) is (are) in motion and which not.
  • But she was able to see two hulls, so the other ship was visible, surely?
  • It was small, dark against the morning sky” – I thought the unlicensed ship was one of the coruscating hulls.
  • The sun rose and the ships neared” – Surely, the ships close very much quicker than the sun rises.
  • with such vibrance” – vibrancy. Vibrance not a word.
  • a perfect model of repose” – repose means rest and relaxation. Maybe composure?
  • heading sixty degrees south of east” – engineering quibble. This is the same as thirty degrees north (or east?) of south. There isn’t much logic in referencing a bearing by the longer distance from one of two datum points.
  • Comments aside, after a page, I am engaged in the story. I'm not sure if the opening lines are quite strong enough, but I'm intrigued to find out what the ship is doing, and the main character seems authoritative and inquiring.
  • If their heading was across empty ocean, how would they have been stopping here for food?
  • and backing down would indicate weakness” – word missing?
  • Why would the captive woman have the same rank? That seemed odd to me. I don’t see why something like that would translate. Also, it seems odd that the young woman would have a military title (as it sounds). Is this not clearly a crew of civilians?
  • on the other side of the boiling sea” – Is this the name of the sea? If so, it should be capitalised.
  • nomadic Barbarians would roam so far, “What” – Why is barbarians capitalised; is it the name of race? Seems inappropriate, as it’s a generic term. Also, new sentence before dialogue.
  • The woman had an earnesty to her” – not a word. Earnestness.
  • Why don’t you show the barbarian word for book. It’s odd to explain something that isn’t on the page, if you see what I mean.
  • Mother? I wouldn’t assume” – imo, ‘presume’ would be more appropriate here.
  • a single thread of falsehood woven into a tapestry of truths” – superb line; very elegant and thought-provoking.
  • The white-haired woman grabbed the book from the table” – I know that this is a cultural difference between USA and UK, however I will raise it, because I don’t think I'm wrong in saying that this word isn’t the best for conveying tone. To me, ‘grabbed’ is an urgent, almost violent, gesture. Oxford Living Dictionary defines it as “Grasp or seize suddenly and roughly”. Even if you don’t accept that meaning, I think it still sounds like the secondary meaning of grab, which is casual, relaxed, informal—which I think still does not fit the tone, personally.
  • Half way through and I remain engaged, curious, without being enthralled. It’s an interesting story and I'm keen to get to the end to find out what happens. I'm also hoping that the pace picks up a bit, but I realise that it might not, as it seems to be an idea story, rather than conflict-based, so far!
  • watched in interest” = phrasing. I think it’s more natural to say ‘with interest’, or ‘in earnest’—although that doesn’t fit so well.
  • and continued. “6.” Six of what?” – did someone speak the word ‘six’? Some of the punctuation is puzzling and makes me stop reading to try and figure out what’s going on.
  • She read it to herself, Q, A, D. Pronounced, that would be, “Q. The realization hit her, “K.”” – again, I'm left swimming in punctuation and not able to follow whether someone is speaking or not.
  • believe in L’s more than all her previous explainations had” – missing word, and typo.
  • pointed it straight upward, and pulled the trigger twice” – I know this is great drama but, surely, an experienced soldier would not to this, especially not a commander. There much be a risk that someone could be standing on the roof of the enclosure they are in, especially on a boat.
  • More importantly, D is breaking her own rules and revealing the strength of her nation to a women who she suspected could be lying to her only moment before, or at least was conscious of the possibility, in setting very specific rules, which D has just breached herself. It’s clear that D is not stupid, from the way she has approached the situation. This broke my belief in D.
  • never splitting because truth does not have multiple endpoints, it does not contradict itself” – Hmm, are you sure about that? This is an interesting philosophical debate in itself. I like the basis for the Course as a nation named after its beliefs, and the idea of those beliefs themselves is interesting, differently expressed if not necessarily unique.
  • middle line between north and south” the equator, “is very hot.” – again, I really don’t know what’s happening with the punctuation. Is this just a typo?
  • I'm two-thirds of the way through a story, only for another story to start. I did not react well to this, but ill kept going in the hope that this is not going to be a long interlude.
  • seasons ago,” just over two-hundred and fifty years, “The tribe came across a dying man” – seriously, this punctuation is weird. Is the definition of the length of time supposed to be an internal thought, an author’s note? I think it would be much better for D just to speak this out loud. It might be a little strange, but she could be saying it for her own benefit, as if checking her math, but with the hidden purpose of giving the reader information. Even putting it in brackets would be better than this.
  • I walk the Course of Aeons” – missing word?
  • On his way there, his ship crashed” – not a very nautical word. Ships more often are described as being wrecked, or run aground, capsized, sunk, etc.
  • empires would have risen and fell fallen” – tense
  • I’m confused. Who got shot at the end. I guess it was L, but I don’t think it’s entirely clear.

Interesting story, I'm glad to have read it. Nice how you brought it around to the phrase about making truths from a lie. There was portions that felt a little slow, not least the story about the man in the desert. Clearly, that is a central part of the story, but there is a risk in introducing a completely new element that late in a short story. I would suggest that it might be cut down a bit, which usually is easy enough to do.

Nice job.

<R>

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