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Robinski

Robinski - 180611 - AK Dead Horse - Parts 1&2 - 4568 words (LSV)

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Hi all,

So, with your forbearance, I'm sending the first two sections of the story again, which are fairly extensively updated, although the bones are the same (pardon the pun).

I'm hoping I've rectified or at least mitigated the main issues from before, and perhaps softened some of the others. Also, I'm hoping that clarify is improved in those areas where it was problematic. I'm not intending to trawl back and forth over the same material, hopefully, as the plot gets going, I'll be able to motor through to the end then edit and put out an alpha readers request.

Many thanks to all readers.

<R>

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LBL's sent!

Overall, the first chapter was much better to me. The magic use is a lot clearer, with only some stumbling blocks on the opening. The second paragraph is pretty wordy and name/history heavy, so it could be cut or rearranged for immediacy.

The second chapter is also a lot better. I'd still like better stakes than "my family's in trouble." We don't know any of them, so it's not a big draw. My other big problem was the timeline and logistics. There were a few parts where it wasn't clear how long he'd been in, and how long he has left. I'd also like some examples of C's exploits, and why she's so feared.

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Thank you, @Mandamon. LBL's very much appreciated :) 

I'm glad this is 'more like it', and note your comments. I can certainly tackle those thing you mention in Chapter 2.

The stakes thing is interesting. I'm very keen not to have any kind of higher stakes at this point. If I throw in some kind of the world or nation is threatened thing at the start, I feel it will eclipse the personal aspects. I appreciate it might drive the plot harder, but I don't see it as that kind of story.

Thanks for re-reading!

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

If I throw in some kind of the world or nation is threatened thing at the start, I feel it will eclipse the personal aspects.

No, don't change the type of stakes. I think family is fine, I just wanted more investment in their plight. Right now it's very removed because everything's been focused on J. Maybe a visit from a family member in prison to tell him what's happening, or something like that?

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5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I just wanted more investment in their plight. Right now it's very removed because everything's been focused on J. Maybe a visit from a family member in prison to tell him what's happening, or something like that?

Ah right, yes, okay, I see. Hmm, an encounter fits quite well with where I am at the moment. It's denying it a little, but that could work pretty well.

Thanks :) 

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Language, sex, AND violence? Well okay then!

Overall

This is a lot better! Most of my quibbles have been dealt with. I thought the motivations for the band of thieves could have been a bit less cliche, but generally this was an interesting start. That last section gave me the stronger motivation I needed to keep reading, as well, so good on including that.

On 6/11/2018 at 0:13 PM, Mandamon said:

I'd also like some examples of C's exploits, and why she's so feared.

Yes please! I agree

 

As I go

- page four: little blister? Little sister?

- character motivation and buy-in is a lot better this time around!

- page four: unsure what 'heat' refers to. Magic?

- page five: because it's been a number of pages since he talked about being pursued, I've lost a bit of the urgency and plot. I had to stop and remind myself why he is going to the butcher and why he needs heightened senses

- page six: the butcher interaction is a lot smoother now, too

- page seven: I'm a bit surprised there aren't some thoughts about his family having to do without his monetary support when he realizes he's been captured

- page ten: so if anything, the interaction between C and our protag, to me, now has much more potential for romance. It's more subtle, maybe not there, and that makes it engaging

- page twelve: I have some concerns about why no ship in the royal port will take C. I think it should be spelled out, because leaving it hanging makes me thinking the sailors are racist, and that opens a big can of worms in your narrative

- nice ending!

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Super comments, thanks so much for reading! Really pleased that it is improved and that's down to you guys keeping me honest. (See, I do listen!)

i can work the individual motivations a bit better; they're a bit low-hanging-fruit at the moment, I think. Ch background too is 'light', including why ships won't carry her. I must admit I copped out a bit on that. Must try harder. There's an opportunity there. 

A fried in my youth called his female sibling his little blister, and the term 'bother' is there too (for brother, of course). Maybe it's an old UK think. 

Heat is literally the force he was thinking of deploying. The magic works around physical effects, so, the sense, the elements, natural phenomena. That's not clear yet, I guess, but I was trying to hint at some of the different elements. 

Pursuit and thoughts of family (on capture) - right, I can draw these out. 

Romance - good. Subtlety always beats weird obsession, I suppose :)

Really appreciate those notes. Thank you!!

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@Mandamon, I thought your excellent LBLs deserved some response.

- I have made some change to increase pace as you suggested around the first paragraph, and moved up the bit about the thugs. Also did some trimming.

- I've unpacked the bit about 'natural waste' (that phrase is gone, actually).

- "I patted my pocket where lay the purse that I had filled with nickel and silver by playing cards on my journeys" - This was a simple missing word, but I can see how it caused confusion. I also added a bit about 'tells' to explain the cards thing.

- The term 'clout' is gone now, and I am only using 'marrow'.

- He's not actually in solitary, but I appreciate it comes over that way. Also changed the bit about Ch protesting (wrong word), and clarified the three months thing. He's not almost out. Poor wording when I first mentioned three months.

- The bit about Ch in the yard is not clear. J is thinking back to their first meeting, but that was three weeks ago, then he comes back to the present to be called over to her. I've reworded.

- The reference to preparing the bones is something that has not come out yet. The best way is to boil them to get the biggest benefit. A quick suck maybe nets the user 50% of the power, if they are lucky.

- "dancing before the bedding" - Lol, very apropos.

- Ch's reputation. Yes, I did dodge that a bit. I like that idea of it being a bit of a teaser, but I haven't even hinted at it here because I haven't figured it out!!! I really need to do that so I know whether I should be dropping things in or not. That's my homework for this weekend (apart from keeping writing). I will seek to grow some beans so that I can spill them in the next submission.

Thank you again. Really helpful comments to push me forward :D 

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Well, if I had to miss a week, at least there's not too much to catch up on! @Mandamon and @kais have pretty much covered everything I would have.  I would like to have a bit more about the family a bit sooner -- as Mandamon said, I want to care about J, but as it stands I just don't until the end. Snarky playboys might be fun to write, but they're not terribly sympathetic by themselves.

The sections with Ch are better, however, she is still the only gang leader described solely with her physical appearance. She's also the only one whose reputation is only told to us. The young upstarts beat J, and the war veteran has his men break his fingers in a very businesslike manner. Ch just flirts. I'm willing to take a certain amount of "fearsome reputation" on spec, but I'm going to need to see some proof of her rep -- soon. It doesn't have to be anything flashy, just something.

Otherwise, this version is much less confusing and troublesome than the first one. :)

But now I am wondering about soup. Like, a lot about soup.

Because, like, when you make stock, or bone-broth as it's trendy to call it now, you generally boil the chicken carcass or whatever until the marrow seeps out into the liquid. So, therefore, bones that have been used in most stocks would be useless for casters, yes? But the broth itself would have the components of the marrow in it -- the collagens, the fats, etc -- so would that mean that a caster could glean some kind of power from, like, regular soup? Just, like, pop open a can of Cambell's Chicken Noodle for a quick powerup? Casters hiring the best chefs to make their bone broth, chefs studying the best ways to balance power with flavor? What about other dishes that use marrow in them? Can I inadvertently find out I'm a caster by eating a particularly good stew? 

And what about roasting? If you're really serious about your bone broth, you roast the carcass until the bones crack before you put it in the stock water. Ideally, bones used in bone broth and some stocks have had almost all their nutrients leeched into the liquid and are, like, crumbly almost when they come out. How would a caster glean anything from that? Would a caster on the wrong side of the law go looking for the worst, most harried cooks in the hopes that the cook didn't have time to make a good bone broth? 

I'm probably overthinking things.

But... 

...What about the soup? 

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Sent you LBLs, Robisnki san. 

Part 1 is improved from my first read. 

Bits of parts 1 and 2 dragged for me, but overall I think it's well written, flows pretty nicely apart from the occasional sluggish thought mill. Character has attitude and humanity. Setting is intriguing and so is the story. The last section of part 2 really drew me in. Compelling! Good work.

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Thank you @Majestic Fox, much appreciated. I've been through the LBLs and made some tweaks. Also, it changed a bit from other comments above. I've not slashed anything out in a significant way, notwithstanding your points about dragging. I'll keep them for now and see how the whole plays out.

Thank you again :) 

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Hi ID, thank you so much for reading, and I am so sorry it's taken me this long to reply.

On 22/06/2018 at 1:26 AM, industrialistDragon said:

Snarky playboys might be fun to write, but they're not terribly sympathetic by themselves.

Hmm, yes. Okay. I'm happy to accept the balance if information flow is maybe not right yet, but I'm going to press on to the end (having revised the opening twice at this point) then take the thing as a whole.

On 22/06/2018 at 1:26 AM, industrialistDragon said:

The sections with Ch are better, however, she is still the only gang leader described solely with her physical appearance. She's also the only one whose reputation is only told to us. The young upstarts beat J, and the war veteran has his men break his fingers in a very businesslike manner. Ch just flirts. I'm willing to take a certain amount of "fearsome reputation" on spec, but I'm going to need to see some proof of her rep -- soon. It doesn't have to be anything flashy, just something.

Right. I'll look at her intro again. Her back story is coming, but her being secretive about it doesn't help me any!!

On 22/06/2018 at 1:26 AM, industrialistDragon said:

But now I am wondering about soup. Like, a lot about soup.

Because, like, when you make stock, or bone-broth as it's trendy to call it now, you generally boil the chicken carcass or whatever until the marrow seeps out into the liquid. So, therefore, bones that have been used in most stocks would be useless for casters, yes? But the broth itself would have the components of the marrow in it -- the collagens, the fats, etc -- so would that mean that a caster could glean some kind of power from, like, regular soup? Just, like, pop open a can of Cambell's Chicken Noodle for a quick powerup? Casters hiring the best chefs to make their bone broth, chefs studying the best ways to balance power with flavor? What about other dishes that use marrow in them? Can I inadvertently find out I'm a caster by eating a particularly good stew? 

And what about roasting? If you're really serious about your bone broth, you roast the carcass until the bones crack before you put it in the stock water. Ideally, bones used in bone broth and some stocks have had almost all their nutrients leeched into the liquid and are, like, crumbly almost when they come out. How would a caster glean anything from that? Would a caster on the wrong side of the law go looking for the worst, most harried cooks in the hopes that the cook didn't have time to make a good bone broth? 

I'm probably overthinking things.

But... 

...What about the soup?

Awesome! Thank you so much for this in-depth soup analysis, ID; it's prefect :)  Maybe it goes a bit deep into the soup than entirely warranted, but I'll update the soup reference with some of the tastier details.

Really appreciate your comments here. Very helpful. Thanks!

<R>

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