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Mandamon

20180422 - Journey to the Top of the Nether - Part4 - 5729 words - Mandamon

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Submission 4:
This is really long--sorry. It finishes out the section, and based on the arc, I think there would be a lot of WRS if I split it in half.

Previously, the group rode in the balloon until their fuel ran out, and then anchored the beetle to the wall. They climbed for a few days, but the beetle hit a snag, and there is another crew climbing up the wall...

Looking for all comments as usual, but also on consistency of character voice, and whether the emotion works in this section.
Thanks!

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Overall: I like the momentum that's building up in this section, but I kind of feel like some of the lack of emotional investment of previous sections is also coming home to roost. The tone of the story so far has had a bit of that Victorian travelogue remove, and I know that's sort of what you were going for, but the down side to achieving the style is that I'm connecting less with the characters; I feel like I've been told (or summarized, since this is travelogue) rather than felt or experienced the depth of some of the relationships up to this point, which makes it difficult for me to care during those parts in this section that I need to.  

 

As i go:

" I had tied back our sleeves, wrapping them around our arms and legs" sleeves don't go on legs, and robes don't really have separated lower torso portions unless you're getting into divided skirts or like hakama and i guess i'm just really, REALLY confused as to what they're wearing now. I'd kind of assumed something like a riding habit, at the very least, or even like some of the Edo firemen's costumes or a salwar kameez or something sensible. Now i'm just so baffled... 

Mom voice ftw. lol

 

I'm a bit skeptical she wouldn't call out about Sneaky heading towards the drill. It seems... a little out of character? Maybe? that scene feels a little off to me.

Okay, I'm glad she brought it up afterwards. That goes a ways towards making the earlier bit better.

 

I'm a bit more skeptical she wouldn't tell mom about the second night, especially after mom specifically said "tell me if anything else weird happens" and then something weird happened. She might get the telling of it jumbled, or mom might not believe her, but mom did give her a specific order to report on stuff happening at night.

 

I am... not particularly moved by the death scene, unfortunately. Partially, I think it's from the style of the writing; it's a bit at a remove, and her emotions feel sort of muffled. Partially also is that P is a pretty background character and I'm simply not invested in him. He had few lines, only a couple of interactions, and was the most obviously expendable of the cast. We're told he's a longtime valued member, practically an equal, but all his on-screen time is in servant-type interactions that are either perfunctory or clearly just there to move the plot.  I'm not sure how much investment you were going for, though.  It's probably not so bad to have an obvious redshirt in a kids' book maybe? 

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

sleeves don't go on legs, and robes don't really have separated lower torso

Lol...I think I just mangled this entire description. I'll go back and clean it up.

12 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

She might get the telling of it jumbled, or mom might not believe her, but mom did give her a specific order to report on stuff happening at night.

Good catch. I'll put that in.

12 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I am... not particularly moved by the death scene, unfortunately.

 

12 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

It's probably not so bad to have an obvious redshirt in a kids' book maybe? 

Yeah--I was trying to go for danger and death, but not traumatize the kiddos too much? I'll see what others say. I may need to adjust P's scene time to make him a little more significant.

Thanks, @industrialistDragon!

Edited by Mandamon
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Overall

Generally, smooth going. Some quibbles below. I'm still not as connected with the main character as I would like to be, and I suspect it is for a lot of the reasons @industrialistDragon noted above. 

And hey- congrats on the fully funded kickstarter!!

As I go

- page five: the emotion about being as famous as mom is the first time I've really gotten a sense of why our protag is on this journey. I like it. More of this, please

- page seven: just as reading through this bit, I was thinking it would have been nice to have a bit more drama about meeting the other group. Mom's research is being poached and if that was me, I'd be suuuuuper angry. Like, back off, I will cut you, angry.

- page nine: oooh, good! Suspicion!

- page twelve: would love a bit more description about what climbing through cotton feels like

- page fifteen: Wouldn't she have a bit of inclination that the rubbing sounds from the night could have had something to do with the harness? I like the grief, of course, but she's already suspicious of Sneaky so even if he isn't up to no good, wouldn't her mind stray there on its own? Maybe?

- page 18: the delay on determining who cut the rope kills tension, I feel like. I think it might be nicer to have an accusation right after the fall, from our protag. Really amp things up

- end of chapter: the beauty of being above the clouds doesn't feel as compelling of a chapter ending as maybe it could? I think if I got a greater sense of overall wonder from the characters, especially the protag, this would have more punch.

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50 minutes ago, kais said:

congrats on the fully funded kickstarter!!

Thanks! Up to 125% now!

50 minutes ago, kais said:

the first time I've really gotten a sense of why our protag is on this journey.

Ah--good. I'll work on amping this up.

51 minutes ago, kais said:

Wouldn't she have a bit of inclination that the rubbing sounds from the night could have had something to do with the harness?

 

51 minutes ago, kais said:

the delay on determining who cut the rope kills tension

Yes and yes. Fixing this will also give me a chance to make N protag more.

 

52 minutes ago, kais said:

greater sense of overall wonder from the characters

Good catch. I'll work on this.

 

Thanks @kais!

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Sorry for the delay. LBLs to be emailed.

Birds are scarce? Why would there be any birds up here at all so high up, if there is nothing to eat?

"freak storm" - Does the Nether have weather? I feel like I didn't know this.

"We’ll be remembered as the first..." - Not sure a teen would think about their legacy

What I'm wondering, and it might be WRS, is why they didn't just use the working CBD, instead of fixing the broken one. It's because the second one is smaller, right?

"He soon returned to the beetle and strapped himself back in." - I feel like this section ends too soon, and that there is more to be said her, some conjecture maybe, or even just N falling back to sleep. It feels unfinnished to me.

Confused. Where does all the water go? There's no way that volume of water transforms into clouds. I just can't beleive the mechanism. Consider Niagra Falls. The proportion of the wall that is 'atomised' I would think is very small.

This section felt long to me. It had great excitement around the incident, and some good tension in the first half, but I felt it started to drag in the later sections. In part, this may be because you were stressing the monotony of the climbing towards the end, but still. I don't know, maybe it was where I was at that moment. With a fresh look I'm sure it's fine.

Overall, I'm still very much invested in the story. It needed a big moment, and you gave us that. I think the revelation of breaking the clouds could be clearer in terms of what it looks like, the geometrics or geology of what the structures look like and how they interact.

Good job.

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Thanks @Robinski! LBLs are very helpful, as always.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Does the Nether have weather?

Yes--I've mentioned it in passing in a couple places, spread around the books.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

why they didn't just use the working CBD,

Probably WRS. The other one only had one drill and the other was worn down. I'll see if I can make this more prominent.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Where does all the water go?

Yeah, this is sort of a handwave. I'll do some more research to see if I can justify it.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

This section felt long to me.

I think this goes along with @kais and @industrialistDragon problem with emotional attachment. I'll see what I can do.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

It needed a big moment, and you gave us that.

This is definitely the midway dividing point for the story...

Thanks again!

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:
7 hours ago, Robinski said:

why they didn't just use the working CBD,

Probably WRS. The other one only had one drill and the other was worn down. I'll see if I can make this more prominent.

Yeah. I sort of remembered that one of the drills was broken in some way. I should also have remembered that, if it hadn't been for the first CBD drilling all those holes, the second drill would not have been able to climb up at all. It hangs together better than I thought, maybe just need a reminder.

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