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Mandamon

20180305 - The Society of Two Houses - Part 5 - 3553 words - Mandamon

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5th submission:
Our story so far:
M finds the body of the Speaker when arranging a time to present his new invention. The Speaker had been in possession of a list of members of the secret society M belongs to. He tells the head of the Society, who confers with the record keeper for the society. The head explains about the history of the Society and how it will probably be shut down if word gets out. M needs to find the killer and the list.

M talks to his two colleagues, who work together closely on the technical details of the automatons they are designing. One goes with M to talk to two other members whose names were on the top of the list. Both have a means for getting around the Society's geas that keeps people from talking, but neither seems to have motive for the murder. M and his colleague go back to the record keeper, who they find lying in a pool of blood.

M and G investigate the second murder, find some strange things that don't add up, and go to Moort again. They tell them about what happened, but then a System Beast goes crazy and screaming starts.

Let me know what you think!

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New here: 

I haven’t read the preceding chapters, but I definitely could if you email me them. [email protected]

This story has all kinds of pet peeves in its world building and setting, so please don’t take it personally if I seem overly critical. You have the bad fortune to be writing my least kind of epic fantasy. 

Without more context;

The largest and most easily fixable problem here is a lack of character conflict. You have it at the very end where the MC is acused of being involved, but it feels like an addition to the chapter, which is entirely taken up by a fight scene and lots of running. I would recommend moving the order around, with a visit to the master guy and then saving Kraithila. 

Your story feels like steampunk Stormlight. So much. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not exactly the target audience. I like magic to be intuitive for the reader, your system is convoluted, which is one of the major problems I had with Sanderson. If there’s a prior explanation that could be lessened, but from what I can tell there are at least two systems operating on top of each other in this chapter, and to make matters worse, it’s the systems I don’t understand that are being subverted to create the tension. If the reader doesn’t understand why this is unusual they won’t understand why the characters are afraid. This could relate to the above point; maybe I have missed the tension due to a lack of story knowledge. 

Your style is interesting, but again, I would like to read more of your writing before making any suggestions.

Characters names/pronouns are confusing because I haven’t gotten to know them yet. 

The writing itself is dramatic and tense, which exaggerates the lack of character conflict. 

I’m going to hold off making suggestions for improvement until I understand what’s going on; therefore I just pointed out issues I saw. 

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@mrwizard70 Thanks for the comments! Yes, coming in at this section is probably pretty confusing. I just emailed you the previous parts.

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Oh look! I'm getting to this before Sunday! HOORAH!

Overall

I enjoyed this! A bit more backstory on M and a strong ending made this a really fun chapter for me. SB chaos is always fun, too. Nice work! Only a few comments, per below.

As I go

- this is just an idle thought, but in the kicker about the SBs, sex robots just kept coming to mind and now I wonder what the Nether has in terms of sex work. I feel like there's a whollllllle section we never get to learn about that is just ripe for a book or two. Or me writing fan fiction. (Maybe definitely fan fiction)

- This line just seems out of place: We had all been circling it, deactivating the simpler System Beats. And also typo on beasts, I think?

- page ten: the family death thing is the first real buy-in area I've had for M. I'd really like more on this, specifically on how his invention killed them. I'd also love to see more callbacks to the family earlier, because it gives me a lot of sympathy for M, and therefore, more story buy-in

- solid ending!

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, kais said:

I wonder what the Nether has in terms of sex work. I feel like there's a whollllllle section we never get to learn about that is just ripe for a book or two. Or me writing fan fiction. (Maybe definitely fan fiction)

Lol...there was a (very) brief mention of them in Seeds at the Bazaar, but not a lot developed. I might just leave that to your fan fiction!

Edit: or maybe there needs to be a line of Dissolutionverse erotica stories to go along with the Dissolutionverse mid-grade I'm writing... ;-) Something for everyone!

13 hours ago, kais said:

the family death thing is the first real buy-in area I've had for M. I'd really like more on this, specifically on how his invention killed them. I'd also love to see more callbacks to the family earlier, because it gives me a lot of sympathy for M, and therefore, more story buy-in

Glad this is catching your interest. I had a couple hints about it earlier, but maybe I can make it stronger. I'm struggling with revealing too many plot elements vs. developing M's character.

Edited by Mandamon
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4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

or maybe there needs to be a line of Dissolutionverse erotica stories

Sign. Me. Up. I also volunteer as collaborative tribute. This must now happen.

 

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11 minutes ago, kais said:

Sign. Me. Up. I also volunteer as collaborative tribute. This must now happen.

Lol

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Very pleased to be reading this again. I am enjoying my weekly episodes :) 

  • So, I have sent LBLs separately, so these comments might be a bit thinner than usual.
  • she couldn’t hear the House of Potential” – But ain’t there some form of audible alarm, since presumably the majority of people in the mansion can’t hear the HoP. (Lol, sounds like GoP :P ) I do like the tension at the opening of this section. 
  • keeping the damage to a minimum” – I feel like this phrase is very safe and sensible, whereas the tension would be better served by emphasising the danger.
  • chaotic kaleidoscope” – wonderful phrase :)
  • I think the description of the scene in the workshop could be tighter. I'm not quite sure what I'm seeing, and it does not sound especially dangerous. The pixie is singing, after all! I’m not really feeling the threat after the chaos and danger in the rest of the mansion.
  • …nice touch with almost hearing the SoG, though.
  • Calling the beasts ‘little’ tends to reduce the threat, like they are just toys.
  • Not sure I'm feeling the “homicidal frenzy”. As per my points above, I think you're downplaying the danger from the beasts through some of the language.
  • Furry dancer? That’s an Elton John song, isn’t it?
  • few minutes or an L…..” – I'm not sure if the reader is well enough attuned to what a lightening is to get the distinction here. Put another way; I'm not well enough attuned!
  • only the largest one left” – This puzzled me. Would they not have to constantly dodge around the largest one to get to the smaller ones? Surely, their work would be greatly facilitated by taking the biggest one out first. Is that not the best tactic? Hmm, I see that you do provide some explanation for this. If that’s the case, I think I would prefer that rationale up front.
  • fantastical materials” – What are these? I don't think we've ever heard of these in the D-verse.
  • dodge the beast’s strikes don't know enough about these to feel the danger.
  • like old socks that had been stretched past their original use” – this is a great phrase, but it’s rather too comfortable to express the danger of the situation, I think. I robs the encounter or stress and tension, sort of an anti-climax.
  • I don’t want to seem dependant on them” – Surely the stakes are higher than this? This is not a training exercise. This is the biggest problem I have had this week; I feel it tends to trivialise the danger. Is it not all hands on deck?
  • I cocked my head in acceptance of her point” – Hmm, I can’t picture this motion. I associate it with trying to hearing something, possibly expressing puzzlement.
  • I didn’t think it was clear if M was buried in plaster, or what. It sounded that way at first, but then they seem unaffected.
  • Good, dramatic ending, but I'm not sure I'm completely convinced by this turn of events, and M not recognising the signs of his own weapon being used earlier on. Or, I would appreciate it being made a bit clearer that it is only the most recent disruption that the device was causing, not all the mysterious goings on? If the fallout out from this device is so heavily imprinted on M’s memory, how has he not thought of the possibility before? Then, I find myself wondering if we might not reasonably have expected to hear something of the device earlier in the story, as the cause of such a significant event in M’s life. Dunno.

Either way, I did enjoy this episode. I think the danger could be dialled up in a few places where the language tends to minimise or diminish it, particularly Man’s rationale for not involving Moo, which felt particularly weak.

Good stuff though. I remain entertained, and eager for learn the outcome.

<R>

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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

a bit thinner than usual.

As in only one screen of notes ;-)

3 hours ago, Robinski said:

Furry dancer? That’s an Elton John song, isn’t it?

Lol...

Thanks as usual for all the comments and the LBLs! Good catch on the places where the tension is weak. I can certainly dial that up on the next pass.

 

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