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Robinski

Robinski - 180326 - TCC Chapter 4 - 3439 words (LVG)

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Okay, all I'm going to say is that--losing track as I am--I don't think you've seen this chapter before, but I've pulled it a bit further forward.

'G is for gore. Enjoy!

As usual, anything and everything you see fit to comment on is fair game.

Thanks for your consideration!

Best, Robinski

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Nope, haven't seen this one before. 
This chapter read well, but I'm having some problems believing T would actually do this, as the consequences for releasing the beasts (multiple murders, T herself in danger, backlash for her place of work and reputation) are greater than the punishment of admitting to an affair with a coworker.
It also seems like M is very competent and could let the beasts loose himself. I get that T is a deflection, but might need to tell us why M couldn't fake the records just as well and point toward T or E without having to blackmail them.

T tripping in the snow while running was a bit of a trope at the end--at least she didn't have on high-heels! But really, I just wanted to ask her if she had ever watched any horror movies. Think through the consequences of blackmail before doing something even worse!


pg 5: "The truck adjusted the tyre spikes automatically."
--what are tire spikes?

pg 6: "E would know what to do, but that would drag her into this mess. She would not do that. This was her problem."
--isn't it both of their problems? M's going to report both of them...

pg 6: "Blank moments later"
--as in she was blank? or didn't remember? The phrasing just seems weird.

pg 7: "She got out on Four where there were more inactive androids."
--If M can do all this stuff remotely, I'm not sure why T is needed. I guess I need to see what he's blackmailing her to do.

pg 7: "Why doesn’t M just do it himself?"
--ah, well, glad she's asking, then. Though her answers are not really satisfactory. I guessing there's some other reason?

pg 7: "and then how much she did not want to die"
--not sure how this jives with the constant suicidal thoughts.

pg 7: "It all became clear...because M. needed her to face the music"
--okay. Not yet clear to me.

pg 8: "log-in for that intern "
--Does M know she has this? It doesn't seem like he does.

pg 8: "then her assistant’s details to access the cameras on Level Five"
--missing a word?

pg 9: "snap and bore and fight"
--is 'bore' the word you meant? I'm not sure what it means in this context.

pg 9: "the end of her life as she knew it"
--This seems too much. I mean, it was an affair, and I'm not defending her, but it's not like she killed someone. In fact, letting the beasts loose seems like it could heap a whole lot more punishment on her than admitting she and E are a thing.

pg 10: "M’s control was complete, but some record of this fateful dead would remain, surely."
--hmm...yeah, still not sure why he couldn't do this himself.

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Notes as reading

Oh god. I think I have literary whiplash. The tone/themes are not clear and it’s scaring me. Judging from the tone so far, maybe pull the suicide reference? Find some other way to make the point about the character losing it. I, and a lot of other readers, have a fairly visceral reaction to anything relating to suicide, so having it just thrown in there was brutal on my immersion. “Inhuman coercion” sentence needs another rewrite. 

Is this the way things normally go? I had this pegged as a mystery, but having the antagonist pointed out like this makes “plot twist, he’s not the antagonist!” *and* making him actually the antagonist obvious, with no real good options. 

I have no idea where this is going, but you’ve just messed up the whodunnit aspect for me, unless things get much more interesting. 

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Was T a POV character before? It's a bit of WRS that I can't remember, but also I think it's a bit of POV overload, too.  We had the overboss lady, the middle-boss lady, and the scientist, right? And T is the... scientist? So, she wasn't a POV last chapter? I'm really confused why we need four (if we're counting the shadowy politics guy?)  POVs in the B-plot of this M&Q story.  It is still M&Q's story, right? 

 
Have you ever thought about doing the story in some kind of omniscient format? It's not done as often nowadays, but having an omniscient narrative would allow all of the various POVs that seem to be happening here... 
 
I'm not sure I quite believe the strength of her reaction, or really, the consequences. If the company is okay with same-sex relationships, why would they fire anyone for having a same-sex relationship?  If this is the sexually-liberated future, why would anyone's career or standing or research be in jeopardy for having a same-sex relationship? Or maybe I just don't care about T. She seems nice enough, but I'm wondering why I need to be in her head for this, or, conversely, if she's the important one, why I needed all the others last chapter. 

"This was her problem." -- er, how is evidence of an affair NOT a problem for all the participants, like, minimum? 
 
"She had to trust him" -- Well, no, she doesn't. The alternative, an alternative, one of many, would be to go public herself before he could and admit it, and then bring him up on claims of blackmail and coercion. All of the bad-publicity reasoning would work there for him, too (plus blackmail and coercion is, y'know, actually criminally illegal in a way that an affair is not. He even gave her the evidence!).  Sure she might have to go through some of the "so you've been publicly shamed" rehab steps, but from her reactions, it seems like marriage counseling and some kind of future PR life coach are small prices to pay for getting out of whatever he has over her.    
 
This is so much coercion, extortion... practically duress with the way she keeps talking about suicide...  I just don't care enough about T or her circumstances to really believe she'd do all this with one short convo and a sex tape. As is becoming very clear with modern politics, one sex scandal does not automatic career annihilation make. Especially when you add in the extortion surrounding this...
 
Overall, I'm not sold on this chapter. I agree with @Mandamon that the slip and fall was a little too much. I'm also unclear why she thinks going along with her own murder is her only option, and then why she tries to hide what she's doing. From the flip side of things, I don't understand why M, if he clearly knew he had this kind of ironclad hold on someone, didn't A) use it earlier, and B ) use it much more often. He could have just as easily co-opted an IT-guy or one of the androids (since it's demonstrated he has control of them) to do what he had T do (push a button), and now he's down a highly-placed asset.  M feels almost like a cartoon villain at this point. 
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Overall

While the premise is interesting and the tension reasonable, there are some issues I can't seem to get around. The first is the level of fear T shows. It's more 1950s than near future, and it doesn't resonate. Is there some law we don't know of that would give her this level of fear? Is she from some conservative religious sect that will take away her kid visitation rights or something?

My second, and perhaps larger issue, is the 'Bury Your Gays.' Could we settle for just a mauling, maybe? Heroic rescue by the cute lab tech who has always been just a bit more helpful than she needed to be? T has a remote with her that lets her shut the creatures down and then she like throws a slipper at M and he gets some of the pheromone on his face and then the things wake up and they BOTH get mauled?

On 3/26/2018 at 8:29 AM, Mandamon said:

I just wanted to ask her if she had ever watched any horror movies.

Yes. Also, if those horror movies were set in the 1950s, because this has a hard core 1950s vibe.

2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I just don't care enough about T or her circumstances to really believe she'd do all this with one short convo and a sex tape. As is becoming very clear with modern politics, one sex scandal does not automatic career annihilation make.

Yes, I agree with all of this.

I remain generally very interested in the storyline, and of course having lesbians in a story never hurts, but not super sold on the solidness or cohesiveness of this particular chapter.

 

As I go

- page two: the lines beginning with 'inhumane coercion' read a bit over the top

- page 2: if she and E are lovers, why does she refer to E earlier as a friend?

- page two: so...M here clearly has no idea what goes on when scientists go away on academic trips...

- page 5: I'm confused. Is E in on the extortion? Is that why T is so broken up? Because the reaction seems way over the top for some same sex infidelity. Even in today's day and age, you're fairly well forgiven for cheating if it's because you just realized you were queer. There will always be hard feelings but like, suicide seems more 1980s 'I got caught with my lesbian lover' than future.

- page six: okay, so E doesn't know?

- page nine: still not sure why she is so upset about being exposed for having a female lover

- err, not pleased with the ending. 

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Hey, thank you for reading. Comments very much appreciated.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

This chapter read well, but I'm having some problems believing T would actually do this, as the consequences for releasing the beasts (multiple murders, T herself in danger, backlash for her place of work and reputation) are greater than the punishment of admitting to an affair with a coworker.

Yeah, I had a lingering concern about this. You raise good points. I will revisit. Maybe make it about T trying to protect E.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

It also seems like M is very competent and could let the beasts loose himself. I get that T is a deflection, but might need to tell us why M couldn't fake the records just as well and point toward T or E without having to blackmail them.

Excellent point. I will revise this. I have an idea, involving androids.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

T tripping in the snow while running was a bit of a trope at the end--at least she didn't have on high-heels! But really, I just wanted to ask her if she had ever watched any horror movies.

Ha-ha. I feel like that's the trope, though. It has to be ridiculous or it doesn't work. She was wearing pink slippers, after all, which I did foreshadow.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 5: "The truck adjusted the tyre spikes automatically."  --what are tire spikes?

Studded is probably the word I should have used.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: "E would know what to do, but that would drag her into this mess. She would not do that. This was her problem."  --isn't it both of their problems?

It is at the moment, I will change this up somehow.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: "Blank moments later"  --as in she was blank? or didn't remember? The phrasing just seems weird.

I'll reconsider that.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

--If M can do all this stuff remotely, I'm not sure why T is needed. I guess I need to see what he's blackmailing her to do.

--ah, well, glad she's asking, then. Though her answers are not really satisfactory. I guessing there's some other reason?

--not sure how this jives with the constant suicidal thoughts.

--okay. Not yet clear to me.

--Does M know she has this? It doesn't seem like he does.

I'll re-trace the logic on all of this.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "then her assistant’s details to access the cameras on Level Five"  --missing a word?

Yep, "input"

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 9: "snap and bore and fight"  --is 'bore' the word you meant? I'm not sure what it means in this context.

In the sense of to butt. In fact, I will use 'butt' instead.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 9: "the end of her life as she knew it"  --This seems too much. I mean, it was an affair, and I'm not defending her, but it's not like she killed someone. In fact, letting the beasts loose seems like it could heap a whole lot more punishment on her than admitting she and E are a thing.

On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 10: "M’s control was complete, but some record of this fateful dead would remain, surely."
--hmm...yeah, still not sure why he couldn't do this himself.

Good notes. Not earned her reaction. I will re-work this.

Super comments. Thank you so much for these, challenging things that I knew on some level were not sufficiently convincing. Perfect.

:) 

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On 29/03/2018 at 4:32 PM, mrwizard70 said:

Oh god. I think I have literary whiplash. The tone/themes are not clear and it’s scaring me. Judging from the tone so far, maybe pull the suicide reference? Find some other way to make the point about the character losing it. I, and a lot of other readers, have a fairly visceral reaction to anything relating to suicide, so having it just thrown in there was brutal on my immersion.

Hey Mr. W., thank you for reading. I really appreciate it, as I recall you expressing your doubts from the start that this was somewhere you wanted to be. I will consider your comments about suicide very carefully. It is something that has touched my family in two specific instances, but I am very much open to looking at this again.

On 29/03/2018 at 4:32 PM, mrwizard70 said:

“Inhuman coercion” sentence needs another rewrite.

Have revised it.

On 29/03/2018 at 4:32 PM, mrwizard70 said:

Is this the way things normally go? I had this pegged as a mystery, but having the antagonist pointed out like this makes “plot twist, he’s not the antagonist!” *and* making him actually the antagonist obvious, with no real good options.

That he is a bad person, and the agent of a great antagonist is already revealed. 

On 29/03/2018 at 4:32 PM, mrwizard70 said:

I have no idea where this is going, but you’ve just messed up the whodunnit aspect for me, unless things get much more interesting. 

Right. To some extent that will be because it's my first draft. While I have an outline of sorts, it's only for the first half, which is how I like to work. The plot reveals its true nature as I go and, inevitably, I need to back a retcon things a bit in the second draft. Similar already is happening here. I'm thinking of this now as my second pass at the first draft, as I haven't complete a version of the story yet. A new connection has revealed itself to me only in going through the very helpful comments on this sub. That will help me clarify things.

There is still some mystery to be had, I promise. I might involve retconning the odd reference in the previous three chapters. I appreciate that you think there are obvious links, and these maybe well be obvious in the antagonist / not antagonist way that you refer to. If you do keep reading, I'll be very interested in your reaction to the next couple of chapters. Q will make a couple of calls that will reveal that there is still a mystery, and addition to the unfolding creature feature / horror story.

Thank you so much again for these comments. Very helpful indeed in unlocking some of the thought process for me.

:) 

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Hey, ID, thank you so much for commenting. Much appreciated.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Have you ever thought about doing the story in some kind of omniscient format? It's not done as often nowadays, but having an omniscient narrative would allow all of the various POVs that seem to be happening here..

This is T's first POV to date. I hear what you say, and will keep this written on a big piece of paper above my desk. I'll make that top of my list to consider in Draft 2, when I've reached the end of Draft 1 and I'm starting back in again.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I'm not sure I quite believe the strength of her reaction, or really, the consequences.

Yes, this is my big fix in this chapter, I think. Totally accept that.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

If the company is okay with same-sex relationships, why would they fire anyone for having a same-sex relationship?  If this is the sexually-liberated future, why would anyone's career or standing or research be in jeopardy for having a same-sex relationship?

It was supposed to be about her marriage, and her position in the scientific community, but I think that has been muddied by the fact that Mort is disparaging about her sexuality, but that's not the focus of her concern. I need to clarify that.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

"She had to trust him" -- Well, no, she doesn't. The alternative, an alternative, one of many, would be to go public herself before he could and admit it, and then bring him up on claims of blackmail and coercion.

Yup.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

This is so much coercion, extortion... practically duress with the way she keeps talking about suicide...  I just don't care enough about T or her circumstances to really believe she'd do all this with one short convo and a sex tape.

Yup.

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I agree with @Mandamon that the slip and fall was a little too much.

But she's wearing slippers!!

On 29/03/2018 at 9:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

M feels almost like a cartoon villain at this point. 

Yeah, there's too much going on, I'm trying to pack in too much intrigue and conflict, and I think in earlier scenes I've not sold or explained clearly enough what the plot is.

Thanks for those comments. I know I've got issues here but, once past the set up (which we pretty much are now), the rest of the story will flow from that, and I'll go back and sort the M vs T vs E stuff in Draft 2.

Another problem, I think is perhaps that Q and M and not properly engaged in the plot yet.

Thanks again :) 

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Hey Kais, very much dreading your wonderful comments, as usual :lol: 

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

My second, and perhaps larger issue, is the 'Bury Your Gays.' Could we settle for just a mauling, maybe?

I'm going to keep going with this because it's 'things getting worse'. I don't want to give away anything ahead of time. I appreciate your concern though. This week's sub will provide additional information.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

The first is the level of fear T shows.

Yeah, I will overhaul the whole coercion mini-arc in Draft 2.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:
On 26/03/2018 at 4:29 PM, Mandamon said:

I just wanted to ask her if she had ever watched any horror movies.

Yes. Also, if those horror movies were set in the 1950s, because this has a hard core 1950s vibe.

But, she's wearing slippers!!!

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

I remain generally very interested in the storyline, and of course having lesbians in a story never hurts, but not super sold on the solidness or cohesiveness of this particular chapter.

Me neither. I will fix it down the road.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

- page 2: if she and E are lovers, why does she refer to E earlier as a friend?

Perhaps as a sign of what T values in the relationship above all else, perhaps unlike E.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

- page two: so...M here clearly has no idea what goes on when scientists go away on academic trips...

I guess he doesn't. Then again, he isn't a scientist.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

Even in today's day and age, you're fairly well forgiven for cheating if it's because you just realized you were queer. There will always be hard feelings but like, suicide seems more 1980s 'I got caught with my lesbian lover' than future.

Yeah, the emphasis is all wrong. Future fix.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

- page six: okay, so E doesn't know?

Correct.

On 30/03/2018 at 0:49 AM, kais said:

- err, not pleased with the ending. 

Yeah. I don't want to give anything away, in the hope that you would keep going at least until this week. In terms of the the trope you mention. I hope, as a reader, you would also recognise that, in story terms, E is still 'swinging' (i.e. in a baseball bat sense, not the other sense). Now, if E came to a bad end, I would be two for two and would expect to be pilloried at the stake.

Hugely useful comments. Thank you.

:) 

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