C_Vallion

11.22.2021 - C_Vallion - Price of Peace- Chapter 18 - RevA - L - 4143 Words

7 posts in this topic

Hello All!

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US.  And a more general happy mid-November to all :)

One more chapter to go in Part 2!

One retconned detail to mention for this chapter.  Planning to shift Ali's earlier focus to have more involvement in the court’s social events.  I haven’t figured out where exactly that will put her early goals and motivations yet, but I think I want her arc to more clearly start at being frustrated with her family, then stepping up toward trying to hold them together.

Other notes for this chapter.  I made some adjustments to it that required some changes to the timeline of this section, but haven’t carried those through yet, so there may be further retcons in the next few chapters adjusting who learns what here.

Content Warning: mild language

Questions:

  1. Anything coming across as confusing and in need of clarification?
  2. Do the characters’ actions/motivations/thought processes seem to fit?
  3. Any particular spots where the emotional through-line is especially off? I know my first drafts are always a little lacking on that front, but knowing what specific spots don’t seem to be hitting right is helpful.
  4. Points of interest or engagement?
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Oh I'm the first one after over a week? ...I feel bad that you had to wait this long with no feedback. My anxiety would be killing me lol. 

As I go:

pg 1. Trying to remember if I should know C. Anyways I'm always game for an awkward crush/romance which this... seems like it could be? Idk. 

pg 2. Though if it's going to get interrupted like that I'm not totally sure what I'm supposed to take from that or where my attention is supposed to be. That being said if this is going to mostly be pure fantasy you might not want to linger on the relationship stuff too long even though that's what I would want to see, so maybe this is okay. 

pg 3. This is not relevant to like anything at all but I'm curious what the gender norms are and how common it is to have a woman guard like C. So far as I understand the place is pretty explicitly patriarchal, right? Since R is the crown prince despite not being the king's kid. Anyways that isn't a criticism and maybe doesn't need to be explored but I am curious. 

pg 4. I think Ali is suffering from some of the same stuff that was mentioned about Ala in part 1; namely not being allowed to be a super active character while the other royals are doing important royal stuff. 

pg 5. Magical contact boxes are cool

pg 6. Ooh Ali actually stands up to V! If she's the one character who gets to stand up to him then that makes her more interesting to me. Well I guess one of two counting R which is part of why I like R so much I think. 

pg 7. All right now I feel like I should know exactly what they're talking about. Something to do with magic probably but I think it might help to spell out exactly what Is--n did that's getting them to react this way. 

pg 9. This is a good way of pushing Ali's motivations into something plot-relevant 

pg 10. Oh yay I get to see more of R in the future since he's going with Ali

On 11/22/2021 at 11:49 AM, C_Vallion said:
  • Anything coming across as confusing and in need of clarification?
  • Do the characters’ actions/motivations/thought processes seem to fit?
  • Any particular spots where the emotional through-line is especially off? I know my first drafts are always a little lacking on that front, but knowing what specific spots don’t seem to be hitting right is helpful.
  • Points of interest or engagement?

1. Mostly just the point of what exactly Is--n did. Also I wasn't totally clear on what Ali is doing with the boxes 

2. Yep! Even though I was confused a bit the characters kept it real which really helped

3. Tbh I'm someone who thinks commenting on the emotion in a piece is pretty useless since I think if the emotions hit right is better explained by fundamental story dynamics. In this case, I think it's really solid overall since (*drum roll for the fundamental story dynamic*) Ali is allowed to be an active character in the face of the most powerful person in the story. It's what I like about R and now it's what I like about Ali. As for what didn't grip me, the scene at the very beginning didn't really do a ton for me. Really it's as soon as Ali starts arguing against V that I think the emotion works. 

4. Ali standing up to V, as I've mentioned before. I think V being the antagonist in her story like it currently feels is a great way to go. They both care about the family but that causes them to want different things, and Ali has to navigate around the king to get what she wants. That makes her conflict especially engaging and I want to see V continue to stand in her way and Ali continue to persevere despite him. If anything I think it's more interesting than R's views of V because Ali isn't as angry with him and cares about him more (or at least more explicitly), so she has to be more precise and delicate in how she approaches the situation. Looking forward to more. :) 

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On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

My anxiety would be killing me lol. 

Hah. Fortunately, holiday travel kept me busy enough to not spend too much time worrying about it.  

On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 1. Trying to remember if I should know C. Anyways I'm always game for an awkward crush/romance which this... seems like it could be? Idk. 

pg 2. Though if it's going to get interrupted like that I'm not totally sure what I'm supposed to take from that or where my attention is supposed to be. That being said if this is going to mostly be pure fantasy you might not want to linger on the relationship stuff too long even though that's what I would want to see, so maybe this is okay. 

C was mentioned briefly back in R's first chapter, but it's been several months since that was submitted. He got mostly written out of the one other part 2 chapter he appeared in (an Ala chapter), but will be more present in Ali's chapters in the next round of revisions. In theory, this chapter would be her seeming to be about to make progress toward her own personal goals, only to have family obligations (which she will have been in conflict with early on) interfere. 

I also want to highlight that she's younger than the others and hasn't absorbed the weight of the situation until here. But to get that across, I probably need to have her more openly assuming that the rest of the family is just being paranoid and overcautious, because she hasn't yet been convinced that her father isn't invincible.

And because this is related:

On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 4. I think Ali is suffering from some of the same stuff that was mentioned about Ala in part 1

Ultimately, I don't have all of those dynamics drawn out yet, so we'll see where her part 1 goals end up by the time I get around to that again. They keep shifting around as I try to nail them down.

On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 3. This is not relevant to like anything at all but I'm curious what the gender norms are and how common it is to have a woman guard like C. So far as I understand the place is pretty explicitly patriarchal, right? Since R is the crown prince despite not being the king's kid. Anyways that isn't a criticism and maybe doesn't need to be explored but I am curious. 

Huh. I guess I have sort of neglected detailing of that in this revision. I don't think I'd call it explicitly patriarchal, though many aspects of it lean that way (and some families/regions are stricter about that in their traditions). 

Worldbuilding overexplaining warning:

R is the crown prince mostly due to V's regretting the circumstances of his own inheriting, since the throne was supposed to go to Is-n before his accident.  So it's partly V feeling like he's righting some wrong there. Partly because he knows that the conflict between him and R gives V's political opponents someone to rally behind instead of attacking him directly.  Partly because he's terrified that they'd tear Is- apart because she's quiet and doesn't like to cause trouble.  He knows Is- is more of a diplomat than a ruler. Before Is-n's accident, V would have also preferred to play a more diplomatic role, sorting out things in the background while Is-n was the front-and-center individual actually running things. And in many ways, he doesn't like what the kingship has turned him into. He sees the potential for a similar dynamic between R and Is, and wants to make it work out correctly this time.  Not that V would admit most of his reasoning to anyone.  Most of the court assumes it's because he follows his father's political leanings, which would have leaned more patriarchal, and that he wants to keep Is- free to marry off for political support without giving her future husband the throne or some sort of prince-consort-ship

In most other kingdoms, magic has as significant impact on the gender norms, and tends to be an equalizer in some ways, and creates its own gender biases in other ways.  In Gil- there are remnants of that from before the magic restrictions were put in place, which is why (especially in the more magic-sympathetic families) it's socially acceptable for women to take part in combat training or guard training or other activities/work that might be considered more masculine in other settings because of general physical size/strength trends. 

Most of the gender norm details aren't super relevant to the story, so I tried to avoid making it too central of a point, but I should probably make sure to clarify early on that the choice of R as heir isn't primarily gender-based.  Even if V's actual reasons don't get fully revealed in book 1 of the hypothetical series.

On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 7. All right now I feel like I should know exactly what they're talking about. Something to do with magic probably but I think it might help to spell out exactly what Is--n did that's getting them to react this way. 

I'll have to figure out how much of this is WRS and how much needs to be called out specifically along the way (Ali isn't supposed to know the specifics, so I had to keep some vagueness.  Possibly too much). 

In Is-n's interlude chapter, V forbade him from discussing any of their plans with Mish- with Is-, ultimately turning it into a royal order because they were both defensive and angry and spiteful at the time.  When Is- and Is-n are having their fireside conversation, Is- guesses enough for him to admit more than he's supposed to, so he plans to (this wasn't called out, but I should add that in for clarity) go through the process of going back to the capital to explain the situation and formally request a pardon to make things right with the gods.  Is- would be horrified by the situation, so it should be easy enough to clarify why it's a problem there. And it would likely be called back to mind to her when Is-n ritually pulls all the blame for the situation to himself while they're on their way down the mountain and Is-n and G are arguing.

On 11/30/2021 at 7:10 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

4. Ali standing up to V, as I've mentioned before. I think V being the antagonist in her story like it currently feels is a great way to go. They both care about the family but that causes them to want different things, and Ali has to navigate around the king to get what she wants. That makes her conflict especially engaging and I want to see V continue to stand in her way and Ali continue to persevere despite him. If anything I think it's more interesting than R's views of V because Ali isn't as angry with him and cares about him more (or at least more explicitly), so she has to be more precise and delicate in how she approaches the situation. Looking forward to more. :) 

These thoughts are really helpful all around. :) 

 

Thanks so much for your feedback!  

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On 12/6/2021 at 11:01 AM, C_Vallion said:

I should probably make sure to clarify early on that the choice of R as heir isn't primarily gender-based. 

Yeah I think that helps two related story points:

1. I get a much better feeling of why Is really wants R to get his act together. I assumed that him being declared unfit to rule was a sort of worst case scenario that she's overly concerned about, but if R's only the crown prince because V is making an exception to the rule then it becomes a lot more plausible for that to be reversed. 

2. Nobles trying to prop Is on the throne feels like a much bigger threat now for the same reasons as above. 

On 12/6/2021 at 11:01 AM, C_Vallion said:

I'll have to figure out how much of this is WRS and how much needs to be called out specifically along the way (Ali isn't supposed to know the specifics, so I had to keep some vagueness.  Possibly too much). 

Oh yeah I did forget about that vow. Tbh I wasn't even thinking about those vows at all since I associate divine punishment in this culture primarily with magic use which I know Is--n can do though I was confused as to how V could make conclusions based off that. Maybe highlighting the vow aspect more in this chapter (either having V give at least that much info or having Ali figure it out) could be helpful. Just spitballing though. 

On 12/6/2021 at 11:01 AM, C_Vallion said:

I also want to highlight that she's younger than the others and hasn't absorbed the weight of the situation until here. But to get that across, I probably need to have her more openly assuming that the rest of the family is just being paranoid and overcautious, because she hasn't yet been convinced that her father isn't invincible.

This is all interesting to me in the context of her openly arguing with V. How she's doing it not because things feel desperate like what R is doing by lashing out, but because she doesn't see the danger so isn't afraid to have what she sees as a simple discussion. I think this sets up a good dynamic where R, Is, and Ali have key similarities and differences.

Very serious and tuned into politics; understands the gravity of the situation: R, Is, but not Ali

Wants everyone to get along and tries to play nice with the family: Is, Ali, but not R 

Is very willing to break rules and argue with the king: R, Ali, but not Is 

To me, this allows all three of them to act as foils for each other in different ways, especially since their similarities make their big differences stand out more. This gives an easy way to make each combo of the two have a fresh dynamic. 

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8 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Yeah I think that helps two related story points:

Good to know. I can see how assuming a more patriarchal society would make those possibilities seem far less likely.  Your pointing those things out also made me realize that failing to clarify the why of R having the title (and the uncertainty of keeping it) also undermines some part 3/4 character arc things. So I really appreciate you pointing this out here.

7 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Oh yeah I did forget about that vow. Tbh I wasn't even thinking about those vows at all since I associate divine punishment in this culture primarily with magic use which I know Is--n can do though I was confused as to how V could make conclusions based off that. Maybe highlighting the vow aspect more in this chapter (either having V give at least that much info or having Ali figure it out) could be helpful. Just spitballing though. 

I'm also hoping that having Ala's Part 1 goals more centered on the magic laws will help provide more background and a better frame of reference to make things like the consequences of oath/vow breaking or magic misuse clearer going into this whole section.  The way this revision went, I was trying to avoid exposition dumps at weird spots, but without enough grounding for the information, I think it's harder to absorb some of the subtler parts of what's going on (at least before they get shoved front and center), even without WRS interfering. 

I do need to make sure to include more reminders of the oath/vow system throughout this part anyway, though, I think. Even if just to make sure this doesn't come out of the blue.

7 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Very serious and tuned into politics; understands the gravity of the situation: R, Is, but not Ali

Wants everyone to get along and tries to play nice with the family: Is, Ali, but not R 

Is very willing to break rules and argue with the king: R, Ali, but not Is 

To me, this allows all three of them to act as foils for each other in different ways, especially since their similarities make their big differences stand out more. This gives an easy way to make each combo of the two have a fresh dynamic. 

Woo! My foil triangle has been recognized :)   

I will admit that I am quite proud of said foil triangle. 

Still need to get those dynamics to come across earlier, though. And I think getting Ali's part 1 goals nailed down better is going to be a big part of that.

 

Again, thanks for the thoughts! 

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Sorry I'm so late! 

It looks like you and Ace of Hearts have hashed out a lot of the details

I had also forgotten about anything related to verbal vows and their effects, but context made it easy to bluff my way through. 

As far as plot points, the only part that hung me up was that having just apparently lost one heir, now the crowned prince and secondary heir are leaving town? Character wise I get it, but in terms of political stability, this seems like a bad call and a bit immature for them without a really solid reason for both of them going. I might be misunderstanding, but it seemed like anyone could carry the box into range and feed it messages and send any reply back to the family? 

A couple small things:

One of the Duchess' names is missing, a line placeholder instead. 

"Before she could manage that, though, C's sister brought up his plans..."

I love the word 'though' so much, and I tend to overuse it. I think this might be a case where 'though' could be removed without losing anything.

I liked the flow of this chapter, as usual :-)

It took me a bit to get back into these characters, but by the time A was in the study I was back in and invested. 

Well done!

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6 hours ago, Sarah B said:

As far as plot points, the only part that hung me up was that having just apparently lost one heir, now the crowned prince and secondary heir are leaving town? Character wise I get it, but in terms of political stability, this seems like a bad call and a bit immature for them without a really solid reason for both of them going. I might be misunderstanding, but it seemed like anyone could carry the box into range and feed it messages and send any reply back to the family? 

Having them leave was a change for this revision, and somehow I managed to miss that very obvious line of reasoning. After thinking about it for a bit, though, I like the idea of Ali asking to go because she wants to help, and Mom agreeing because she isn't sure if R or Ali are safe in the capital, and wants to hide them away until there's more certainty about what's going on.  So the revisions of the following chapters will probably play out with the assumption that they're being sent away for safety, and I'll make sure to work in some text here to go that way in the next round of revisions. 

Thanks for pointing that out!

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