C_Vallion

12.13.2021 - C_Vallion - Price of Peace- Chapter 1 - RevB - L - 2956 Words

15 posts in this topic

Hi, All!

Sorry for the late submission. My weekends are almost always really packed, so I usually get the main bulk of my edits/writing done by Friday, then it sits over the weekend until I can do a final editing pass on Monday before submitting.   Unfortunately, I caught some bigger issues in that editing pass than expected, so it took longer to get them in order.

This is the last of the submissions that I’ve reworked for the class I took this fall, so I shouldn’t have too many more out-of-order submissions going forward.

Through all of the PoP submissions, I know there’s been something missing with getting Is-’s goals/motivations across, so I wanted to try to nail that down better at the start. Hopefully this does some of that better than the tournament chapter did. 

Content Warning: Language

So. Lots of questions.

  1. I am trying to get across the detail of how Is- processes court conversations or what she’s observing in social situations. Does it seem like there’s too much internal dialogue because of that? Or does it come across alright?
  2. Does it seem like names and background information are introduced in an absorbable way?
  3. Does this provide a clearer indication of Is-’s goals/motivations/concerns? Mostly the idea that she’s not trying to be stubborn and independent for its own sake, but that she’s hyper-aware of how she thinks others are perceiving her?
  4. The old chapter 1 was sort of pushing toward the “Is- thinks Ro- is a useless jerk” concept, which was not what I was aiming for.  Does this depiction of their relationship seem to work better?
  5. How’s this seem to work as a chapter 1? It would lead into the tournament chapter (which would have the beginning trimmed down, since we have most of the Is-Ro interactions here). There’s obviously no clear inciting incident, but is there enough of a sense of “important things are going on” to carry it through?
  6. There’s almost no magic here. If it’s coming in after the prologue (which does focus on the magic more) is that fine?  In my head, it stresses the contrast between the magical events there and what “normal” life is like in the rest of Gil under the magic laws. But I’m never sure how those sorts of ideas carry over to readers.
  7. Points of confusion?
  8. Points of engagement?

Back to the end of Part 2 next week!

Thanks!

Edited by C_Vallion
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Currently having issues sending the file out, as I got a notice that it was kicked back as spam.  So.... I guess let me know if you want me to send the file separately before I get that figured out :)

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Overall:

I like the structure of the chapter. The MC has a clear goal early on. However, I got a little bogged down / overloaded in the middle of  the conversation. I also think the scene could benefit from a little more description in terms of setting and blocking. 

As I read:

"I smiled politely..." This line catches my attention and makes me want to read on

"...as if the implication of a mess..." nice characterization in this line. assuming this guy is an antagonist. 

"...get her own information..." This line establish her goal / motive for the scene

"avoided...own flame..." lol

"So much for goading..." Giving up too soon? 

"She watched them go..." Obstacle to her goal

"...make him smug..." Nice dynamic between these two. Cousins or siblings? 

"I think that Oath was ..." Barely keeping up with the conversation, maybe a little  confused, but still intrigued.

"...dance with Martenic..." Wait, had she been dancing with him or just standing around talking? If it the later, can you add more of the physical dancing? Maybe connect the movement with the conversation's moves? 

"...he's aware of that..." to "So that Linos pulls..." This jump lost me 

At this point, my trouble keeping up with the convo was interfering with my engagement.

"She refused..." I like this last line, and feel like this, combine with some pieces of conversation, start to establish a goal of trying to preserve her father's balance and not wanting to be used by others as a political pawn when she has her own agenda. 

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On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • I am trying to get across the detail of how Is- processes court conversations or what she’s observing in social situations. Does it seem like there’s too much internal dialogue because of that? Or does it come across alright?
  •  

I felt like the level of internal dialogue was fine. There could even be more later on. 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Does it seem like names and background information are introduced in an absorbable way?
  •  

At first, yes, but it gets to be a little too much by the end. 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Does this provide a clearer indication of Is-’s goals/motivations/concerns? Mostly the idea that she’s not trying to be stubborn and independent for its own sake, but that she’s hyper-aware of how she thinks others are perceiving her?
  •  

I didn't get the hyperaware part so much as her having her own political agenda, and that she wants to do what's best for her kingdom, and not be used by other people. She wants to be a player on the political board, not a pawn. (not sure if that is actually the message you wanted to send or not)

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • How’s this seem to work as a chapter 1? It would lead into the tournament chapter (which would have the beginning trimmed down, since we have most of the Is-Ro interactions here). There’s obviously no clear inciting incident, but is there enough of a sense of “important things are going on” to carry it through?
  •  

I think it could work. Inciting incident isn't always in ch. 1 in longer fantasy novels. Especially if they aren't super action heavy. But I have been absent from the group for a long time and haven't kept up with your chapters and revisions. I think it with a bit more description, dancing, and a few less bit's of info, this is a decent set up for something. 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • There’s almost no magic here. If it’s coming in after the prologue (which does focus on the magic more) is that fine?  In my head, it stresses the contrast between the magical events there and what “normal” life is like in the rest of Gil under the magic laws. But I’m never sure how those sorts of ideas carry over to readers.
  •  

Lack of magic is ok. It's mentioned, so I think that works. 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Points of confusion?
  •  

mentioned in my as I read

The second convo with the cousin/brother figure got confusing halfway through 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  1. Points of engagement?

 

Convo with first sketchy guy, last page when she leaves the ball

 

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Hi Again!

I enjoyed this first chapter more than the previous draft. I think it gave a very clear introduction of the direction and intent of the story, as well as your MC's main motivations. 

The internal dialogue was fine for me, barely noticeable and nessicary to make it clear what was happening. It also made me like I much sooner than previously, knowing the pressure she is under and what she is up against.

I think th relationship between I and R was the strongest point in the chapter, and the most interesting part to read. I liked their banter and that they both come off as rational while disagreeing. 

I agree with @shatteredsmooth about the ending. Good motivation to keep reading. 

 

Two small points of confusion for me as I read:

"Good evening, your grace." Where R is first speaking, he isn't introduced by name until I think three paragraphs later. With all the introductions going on of names and places, this was a bit confusing ("Wait, which one is this?").

"V should have known from the start that father's legacy..." From reading previous versions, I'm pretty sure this is the king's name. As a first time reader and without already knowing more about I and R's family, I don't think I would have gotten that though. 

Just curious, will there be a family tree illustration/chart in the book? I am hopeless with names so I always look for one :-) please take my confusion with a grain of salt. 

Thanks for sharing,

Sarah B

 

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On 12/24/2021 at 7:46 AM, Sarah B said:

The internal dialogue was fine for me, barely noticeable and nessicary to make it clear what was happening. It also made me like I much sooner than previously, knowing the pressure she is under and what she is up against.

I think th relationship between I and R was the strongest point in the chapter, and the most interesting part to read. I liked their banter and that they both come off as rational while disagreeing. 

Hooray on both these counts! Glad to see that these things are coming across better than they have in the past.

On 12/24/2021 at 7:46 AM, Sarah B said:

Just curious, will there be a family tree illustration/chart in the book? I am hopeless with names so I always look for one

Yep! There will definitely be maps and family charts showing who is related to whom and who is from where.  

Thanks for the thoughts!

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Heh, been a bit MIA lately, but I'm starting night shift again where I should have plenty of time to critique! So, if you have a more current version of this chapter you are welcome to send it my way! :)

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1 hour ago, karamel said:

Heh, been a bit MIA lately, but I'm starting night shift again where I should have plenty of time to critique! So, if you have a more current version of this chapter you are welcome to send it my way! :)

No problem. I know how schedules can be. :) 

Sent over the slightly newer version.

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Posted (edited)

as i go:

pg 1

-good opening line! Im in.

-”edged away from where he towered” i almost want her to be more annoyed at him because this sentence makes me think Li is creepy, but that might push the sense that Is thinks she is better than him too far. But! I dont mind a character that thinks highly of themself and thinks everyone else is a fool. Like, yeah, Is-, you are better than this crusty old man, dont let him weedle info out of you.

-the name confusion (people being called the same name as the place they are from) is clearer this time around

-”that didnt mean she was a fool” oof good line. 

-you probably are tired of hearing this but i think your writing has gotten even better!

pg 2

-”the younger Li-” if there was any lingering confusion on the names being places, this line wiped it clean. Good job!

-”still clinging to her smile” this is good

pg 3-4

-i think this still suffers from too much description about small movements and, um, I dont know if there's a word for this but descriptors that revolve around the person speaking. During Is and Li’s conversation, their voices changed a lot (i.e. “her voice dipped low, his voice lowered to match”) and Is- “held her smile” a lot. In this instance, it felt repetitive to me. Though, I might just be nitpicking on this one. I would like to add that during the first two pages I thought this was a nonissue. Your descriptions were great until I started to notice them the further we got into the conversation.

pg 5

-upon rereading, i think i expected Ro- to interrupt with some juicy information, like “guess who showed up late? Duke Al, that idiot” or something, but instead Is and Ro continued to talk politics and I didnt mind it too much considering i already have an okay sense of who people are, but if I was a new reader, I think my engagement would’ve been way lower. That isnt to say I didnt enjoy Is and Ro's conversation, because i did! their dynamic was a strong point. I just think this early on in the story, it might be harder to capture the attention of someone like me.

pg 8

“Dont you dare joke about” ooo, she angry.

-by page 9, my interest has dwindled a lot. Maybe its because I don't know the stakes yet. Is- is so interested in figuring out a plot that I dont even know exists. Maybe if this scenario were in a later chapter I might be more interested. What would a bad relationship between them and Li- or them and Tra- mean? 

-i do love Ro-’s dialogue tho. I most interested in learning about him.

pg 10

-”i can ask them to switch M” I like the idea of these two scheming behind walls and reluctantly working toward the same goal. Like sure, they dont like each other, but still care for each other (i think) and want the best for their family. The line at the bottom of page nine and top of ten is a great example of their difference in position and conflicting world views.

 

 So, my attention held fairly well at first during the conversation with Is and Li and remained strong when R joined. Around page 6/7 things felt a bit bogged down and my attention waned. 

I think you did a great job showing R and Is’s dynamic. I really got the familial sense between them and enjoyed the way they contrasted each other.

I was able to keep up with all the names just fine but I wonder if I was a new reader if you would’ve lost me. 

I think this is fine as a first chapter if the book’s focus is politics, which I think is the selling point. That’s not typically my cup of tea, so would I (hypothetically) read on after this chapter? Hmm, maybe? Depends on where the story is going and as of right now, I don’t really know (based off of just this chapter). It definitely has a way different vibe than the previous version. Your previous first chapter felt like it would gear more towards action but now we are given a more political feel.


Your questions:

1. I am trying to get across the detail of how Is- processes court conversations or what she’s observing in social situations. Does it seem like there’s too much internal dialogue because of that? Or does it come across alright?

A: I dont think there's too much internal dialogue in the first half, but i think in the second half maybe there was a bit much and that's what contributed to my attention waning. Second half with Ro could probably benefit from being trimmed down.

2. Does it seem like names and background information are introduced in an absorbable way?

A: I can't say exactly not being a new reader

3. Does this provide a clearer indication of Is-’s goals/motivations/concerns? Mostly the idea that she’s not trying to be stubborn and independent for its own sake, but that she’s hyper-aware of how she thinks others are perceiving her?

A: Is- is way less stubborn here compared to previous versions/chapters. She seems more calculating and eager to dig up information for her father. That seems like a pretty clear goal to me. I’m not sure i got the sense that she is “hyper-aware” of how others perceive her, but she definitely is aware.

4. The old chapter 1 was sort of pushing toward the “Is- thinks Ro- is a useless jerk” concept, which was not what I was aiming for.  Does this depiction of their relationship seem to work better?

A: Yes, I think you did a great job with their relationship.

5. How’s this seem to work as a chapter 1? It would lead into the tournament chapter (which would have the beginning trimmed down, since we have most of the Is-Ro interactions here). There’s obviously no clear inciting incident, but is there enough of a sense of “important things are going on” to carry it through?

A: Its obvious that things are going on and there's a lot to uncover behind the scenes, though how much of it interests me enough to care yet? Not as much as the previous version. I guess what im interested to know is, what here is moving the plot forward? It seems like Is- is the same at the end of this chapter that she was at the beginning. I guess she got a little more information than she had previously. This might not even be an issue, but its something to think about I guess.

6. There’s almost no magic here. If it’s coming in after the prologue (which does focus on the magic more) is that fine?  In my head, it stresses the contrast between the magical events there and what “normal” life is like in the rest of Gil under the magic laws. But I’m never sure how those sorts of ideas carry over to readers.

A: There is a mention of magic laws, so I dont think you have too much to worry about. I think the contrast will be good! Gotta have a good balance of politics and magic.

Edited by karamel
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Time to get back into all of the critiques I've been letting slip by.

As I go:

pg 1. Commenting on the first sentence given how important it is. I think it's good but the part after the dash is unnecessary and makes it feel like the story isn't trust us to connect the dots ourselves. Not egregious, but not what I want my first thought to be. 

-I think there's a bit too much descriptive info in the 2nd paragraph. We're (or at least I with ADHD am) only going to remember one or two key details about these chars anyways. What do you want them to be?

-I do like the setup of the scene though. Gives Is space to be active. 

pg 2. There's been a lot of Is telling us why L is doing what. To me the strongest moments of these are when it's connected to her (i.e. "It wasn't her opinion he had been looking for"). The others don't do as much for me. 

pg 3. By this point I feel like I need to get more hints about what Is is trying to accomplish here 

pg 4. So L is hiding something big? I think that's information we could have used at the start. 

pg 5. All right so L is worried about... something. That's a little to broad for me to get invested. Does Is have reason to believe it's something about C specifically? That would give me more to latch onto.

-As much as I like R, I'm curious why the story doesn't have Is figure this out about T and Ala herself. It's easier to get invested in Is if I feel like she's good at what she does, and right now I'm not seeing that. 

pg 6. I really like that detail about Is not wanting the sentiment of her being named heir to be repeated. It does a lot to ensure we know that R's position as heir is precarious 

pg 7. is Is accusing R of making some joke about her drawing him in through attraction? If that's the case, he should at least firmly refute it before telling her to relax. 

-I like R's line near the bottom. That vulnerability is something I like seeing from him.

pg 8. Good way of weaving in info about M and L. I don't think we knew this in previous drafts (or if we had I forgot), and now I care about them much more. Tbh this is so important I might not mind the story straight-up telling us this at the start. 

 -hmm I don't really get the line below. Was L's plan to marry M off to Is? That hardly gets his son "on the throne," right? Unless I'm mistaken and people do talk about royal spouses that way, which is a possibility. I just imagined some sort of plot to make M king by offing the royal kids or whatnot, which to me is more interesting. 

-"You're going to balance yourself right over a cliff" lmao I love this guy

pg 9. I understand the whole thing with Is and marriage much better than I did in the first draft and I think it's an absolutely excellent character conflict between her and R. It's like I was saying from the start: the politics were never the problem. The story just needed to be cleaned up to let them shine. 

On 12/14/2021 at 4:54 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • I am trying to get across the detail of how Is- processes court conversations or what she’s observing in social situations. Does it seem like there’s too much internal dialogue because of that? Or does it come across alright?
  • Does it seem like names and background information are introduced in an absorbable way?
  • Does this provide a clearer indication of Is-’s goals/motivations/concerns? Mostly the idea that she’s not trying to be stubborn and independent for its own sake, but that she’s hyper-aware of how she thinks others are perceiving her?
  • The old chapter 1 was sort of pushing toward the “Is- thinks Ro- is a useless jerk” concept, which was not what I was aiming for.  Does this depiction of their relationship seem to work better?
  • How’s this seem to work as a chapter 1? It would lead into the tournament chapter (which would have the beginning trimmed down, since we have most of the Is-Ro interactions here). There’s obviously no clear inciting incident, but is there enough of a sense of “important things are going on” to carry it through?
  • There’s almost no magic here. If it’s coming in after the prologue (which does focus on the magic more) is that fine?  In my head, it stresses the contrast between the magical events there and what “normal” life is like in the rest of Gil under the magic laws. But I’m never sure how those sorts of ideas carry over to readers.
  • Points of confusion?
  • Points of engagement?

1. A bit too much imo. To me I think the issue is I honestly care about Is and R a lot more than L and M. When Is makes observations about L in particular, I don't care much unless they reflect back on her. I think it's fine for L and M to not hold my interest as much, tbh, though maybe that's not acceptable if they're important down the line. 

2. I think so though I am somewhat familiar with this world at this point. I'd honestly be more explicit about the lack of patriarchy here in ch. 1 if you can because to me this still reads like a patriarchal situation. I wouldn't assume that Is not being heir and her dynamics with marriage had nothing to do with her sex/gender except for what you told me.

3. Yes! Though I still think we can do better. Why does Is care so much about weaseling this secret out of L? We get a few hints but they're a bit to vague for me right now 

4. Yes their relationship is the best part of this chapter and honestly one of the best parts of the story as a whole. I was really feeling the weight of the situation while arguing which almost never happens to me during a ch. 1. Tbh if I can offer prescriptive advice (in my usual vein of not actually thinking you should do this but hoping it reveals more about how I'm currently reading the story), if I were in charge I'd start the story by R dragging her away from the convo. The details of what she was talking to L about could come up in their conversation because if I get to focus on just R and Is I'm totally hooked. 

5. I think it's good because it sets up Is' and R's conflicts/arcs well. I don't get a sense of much happening outside of that but I don't feel like I need to for now. Imo it's more important to set up character plots than overarching plots anyways, and it's often more intuitive to do so. Like for R and Is, all I have to see is them interact and I can be invested even without knowing all of the context. If you wanted me to care about C's invasions in ch. 1 it would be a lot harder of a sell just because of how much more complicated it is. 

6. I think it's totally fine. Imo prologues should be different from chapter 1s in ways like this, or else they'd just be the chapter 1 and chapter 1 would be chapter 2. 

7. Not confusion in what's happening so much as why what L's doing/hiding really matters. Both to Is and to the larger world. It feels like I'm missing something there. 

8. Like I said, R and Is. That's really all there is to it. In particular the way they view their roles, politically and in marriage. I know we talked about this before and you brought up how Is doesn't understand a lot of what's actually going on with her, which makes them difficult to address. Well, I think you addressed them great without her fully understanding herself. I hope that feels good to hear because I really do think all the work with those ideas paid off. And I do remember how I was the one who was interested by those political dynamics in the first place. :) 

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All right I read over everyone's comments because the first chapter is super important to get right so I want to leave as much feedback as I can. My guess, and you can decide whether or not you agree with me, is that the reason I was more engaged with Is' convo with R all the way through is that I knew to piece together how fragile the situation is with V and how it relates to Is and R based on what you told me and what I knew from later in the story.

I'm just spitballing here, and I'm wondering if the reason that fragility isn't resonating much with people is that it's all in the hypothetical for now. I wonder if there's a way to make the threat of political upheaval feel more real. My first thought is for it to be connected back to some sort of previous time this happened which is still recent in everyone's memory. The circumstances might have been different, but maybe this is where you bring the mage rebellion in? Which I know you got criticized for before, but if it's framed as a device to make political threat seem more real instead of a lore dump then maybe it will be received better. And you don't have to call it out by name if you think it's too much for people to deal with in chapter 1. 

And as yet another aside, if you can set up that political upheaval is a real, tangible thing that is on the horizon, I think Ala's story also benefits from him being at the center of that. In the current/previous draft (idk if you've revised them since I read them), I never quite understood why his interactions with the court matter. If he's the tipping point that could mean descent into chaos and violence, I'll grasp that much better. 

Okay one final point is that I think what happens at the tournament also works better if we can feel exactly how fragile the situation is. I really do think the story clicks into place if this piece is solved. But hey, I'm not the one who calls the shots and it's possible I'm off the mark. But feel free to chat me up if you want to talk more about this. 

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On 1/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, karamel said:

good opening line! Im in.

On 1/5/2022 at 9:48 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I think it's good but the part after the dash is unnecessary and makes it feel like the story isn't trust us to connect the dots ourselves. Not egregious, but not what I want my first thought to be. 

Hooray! And also, good to know.

On 1/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, karamel said:

-you probably are tired of hearing this but i think your writing has gotten even better!

Thanks :) I have certainly not gotten tired of hearing this yet.  It has been a long year of tearing this thing apart and piecing it back together, so I fully appreciate any recognition that the work is effective. 

On 1/5/2022 at 9:48 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

-I think there's a bit too much descriptive info in the 2nd paragraph. We're (or at least I with ADHD am) only going to remember one or two key details about these chars anyways. What do you want them to be?

On 1/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, karamel said:

by page 9, my interest has dwindled a lot. Maybe its because I don't know the stakes yet. Is- is so interested in figuring out a plot that I dont even know exists. Maybe if this scenario were in a later chapter I might be more interested. What would a bad relationship between them and Li- or them and Tra- mean? 

On 1/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, karamel said:

I dont think there's too much internal dialogue in the first half, but i think in the second half maybe there was a bit much and that's what contributed to my attention waning. Second half with Ro could probably benefit from being trimmed down.

On 1/5/2022 at 9:48 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

A bit too much imo. To me I think the issue is I honestly care about Is and R a lot more than L and M. When Is makes observations about L in particular, I don't care much unless they reflect back on her. I think it's fine for L and M to not hold my interest as much, tbh, though maybe that's not acceptable if they're important down the line. 

I think these things (and several other points of feedback) will get a lot of help from stepping away for a little while and coming back to it later.  My editing process tends to focus far more on line-by-line flow, so I often lose a more overarching sense of whether there's too much of certain things.  It feels like I haven't mentioned political things/description/whatever else in a while because I've spent an hour overanalyzing phrasing in a single paragraph. But in actuality, it's only been a few lines of page-time.  I've gotten better at recognizing it, but it does definitely become a problem when my editing is rushed. Things either end up going on too long or are not delved into enough because my sense of page-time is skewed by editing time.

On 1/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, karamel said:

I guess what im interested to know is, what here is moving the plot forward? It seems like Is- is the same at the end of this chapter that she was at the beginning. I guess she got a little more information than she had previously. This might not even be an issue, but its something to think about I guess.

On 1/5/2022 at 9:48 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I think it's good because it sets up Is' and R's conflicts/arcs well. I don't get a sense of much happening outside of that but I don't feel like I need to for now. Imo it's more important to set up character plots than overarching plots anyways, and it's often more intuitive to do so. Like for R and Is, all I have to see is them interact and I can be invested even without knowing all of the context. If you wanted me to care about C's invasions in ch. 1 it would be a lot harder of a sell just because of how much more complicated it is. 

So. Differing opinions on this front. And I wonder how much this is just going to depend on who is reading and what they're expecting in a chapter 1.  I do think I probably need a better indication of change from start to end for Is.  Ultimately, this is very much a character establishing chapter before *things go wrong*, so there will probably be more focus on character/relationships than the more active plot, but it does probably need something to tie it into what's coming. Just need to figure out how to do that without making it seem like Is- is expecting something to go wrong. Because I do want it to start out with her being under the impression that she (also, Dad) has everything under control, even if the court is trying to make things difficult. 

Which might ultimately be helped by these thoughts:

On 1/5/2022 at 10:08 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I'm just spitballing here, and I'm wondering if the reason that fragility isn't resonating much with people is that it's all in the hypothetical for now. I wonder if there's a way to make the threat of political upheaval feel more real. My first thought is for it to be connected back to some sort of previous time this happened which is still recent in everyone's memory. 

 I think this is ultimately what I need. Proof that it's not just idle gossip. I think going straight from the prologue to Ch 1 could add more weight to some of the conversation here. Especially if I stress Ala- and Tr- a little more, or have Is- tying that more directly to why L- seems suspicious.   I'll have to think about how I can make the threat seem real without having Is- lose her sense of "things aren't perfect, but we'll be fine as long as no one *coughRonancough* does anything foolish." 

 

Thanks!  Lots of things here to think about! And the encouraging feedback about things that are working is always greatly appreciated!  My ego needs a bit of a boost sometimes down here in the revision-trenches.

 

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

So. Differing opinions on this front. And I wonder how much this is just going to depend on who is reading and what they're expecting in a chapter 1.  I do think I probably need a better indication of change from start to end for Is.  Ultimately, this is very much a character establishing chapter before *things go wrong*, so there will probably be more focus on character/relationships than the more active plot, but it does probably need something to tie it into what's coming. Just need to figure out how to do that without making it seem like Is- is expecting something to go wrong. Because I do want it to start out with her being under the impression that she (also, Dad) has everything under control, even if the court is trying to make things difficult. 

Yeah, I'm probably not the *best* person for this because Im constantly contradicting myself, but I think focusing on Is and Ro's relationship and setting up a few small issues (like that the politics here are unstable and outside forces are potentially going to cause chaos) is a great starting point. I agree that if you had gone further into the details about C's invasions, you would've lost me entirely.

When I mentioned that there was no change in Is, I meant that I felt like nothing had really made her want to spring into action, even though there sort of was. I think i want the opposite of what you want :unsure:  If we start with Is being overly confident in her situation, even going so far as to ignore the duke's implication/worrying of impending doom, then I want the chapter to end with her thinking "hmm. well sh!t. I might've been wrong." Or... not that exactly, but i wanted her confidence to be shaken. Okay, I'm going to stop myself there because i realize that im referring to the inciting incident and that this might be where you're going but over the next few chapters or so. I've rewritten this thought process like three times and its going nowhere because that's not what you're going for in the first chapter.  >.<  sorry!

SO! Im just going to agree with @Ace of Hearts and say that the threat of upheaval needs to be more obvious and feel real. Increase the stakes. Show us what the upheaval would mean. You were spot on with the "idle gossip." It definitely has that feel.

Is can think everything is under control, but the audience still needs to know what it means for things to not be under control. So that when she eventually sees the threat, it hits heavy.

Edited by karamel
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6 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

I think going straight from the prologue to Ch 1 could add more weight to some of the conversation here.

Maybe! Though tbh I'd need a bit more help to see it. So far the potential of political upheaval in ch. 1 seems disconnected from the magic mishap in the prologue--I know that there is a connection in the mage rebellion and magic laws, but I think we'd need more about that for this to work. Which requires a whole separate dimension of worldbuilding when some people say this is already a lot. Though I can picture it being really good once it all comes together. 

6 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

Because I do want it to start out with her being under the impression that she (also, Dad) has everything under control, even if the court is trying to make things difficult. 

Tbh I think this is going to be a difficult thing to consolidate with what this chapter wants to be right now. Particularly that V has everything under control. With this perspective it makes me understand why the story was going for Is and R bickering about minor things in previous drafts--after all, if she thinks things are under control it makes sense to focus on what she can't control--which is R (though it's clear that this wasn't the right direction for the story). A part of me does wonder what the story actually gains by having Is think everything's under control, though I'm sure there are ways to keep it there. 

Maybe I'm overcomplicating things. I think it comes down to stakes. If Is messes up, what are the consequences? If they're focused around her not being able to talk sense into R, we might need more tangible stakes on that front. What consequences have R's behavior led to before, why are they extra-important now, and how does it connect to the world around them in tangible ways? 

 

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20 hours ago, karamel said:

Okay, I'm going to stop myself there because i realize that im referring to the inciting incident and that this might be where you're going but over the next few chapters or so. I've rewritten this thought process like three times and its going nowhere because that's not what you're going for in the first chapter.  >.<  sorry!

Hah! It looks like you've stumbled into exactly where I'm stuck in regard to the inciting incident being in chapter 1 (and I've tricked you all into overthinking it with me! Hah!). It is in chapter 2, so it's not far off, but what you're talking about has definitely been my big concern in not having it in chapter 1. 

20 hours ago, karamel said:

SO! Im just going to agree with @Ace of Hearts and say that the threat of upheaval needs to be more obvious and feel real. Increase the stakes. Show us what the upheaval would mean. You were spot on with the "idle gossip." It definitely has that feel.

Is can think everything is under control, but the audience still needs to know what it means for things to not be under control. So that when she eventually sees the threat, it hits heavy.

And I think this is going to be my biggest help in getting people to stick with it until said incident.  

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I think we'd need more about that for this to work. Which requires a whole separate dimension of worldbuilding when some people say this is already a lot. Though I can picture it being really good once it all comes together. 

Yeah.  That's what I'm afraid of. And why I didn't include much of it here, since I think it will stick better if Ala- is the one introducing it.  I might be able to find a way to have Is- or R- make a comment about Ala- that makes it clear that the prologue events aren't a polite thing to talk about because it still sort of haunts everyone, but it's definitely going to be something that will be really easy to go overboard on.

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

With this perspective it makes me understand why the story was going for Is and R bickering about minor things in previous drafts--after all, if she thinks things are under control it makes sense to focus on what she can't control--which is R (though it's clear that this wasn't the right direction for the story). A part of me does wonder what the story actually gains by having Is think everything's under control, though I'm sure there are ways to keep it there. 

I guess it's not so much that it needs to be clear that things are under control so much as that she recognizes the volatility of the court without being actively paranoid about someone giving the bees' nest a big ol' kick. (by way of, say, an assassination attempt).

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Maybe I'm overcomplicating things.

Hey, that's my job :P 

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I think it comes down to stakes. If Is messes up, what are the consequences? If they're focused around her not being able to talk sense into R, we might need more tangible stakes on that front. What consequences have R's behavior led to before, why are they extra-important now, and how does it connect to the world around them in tangible ways? 

Agreed.  Now to make communicate clearly and in the right place....that should be simple, right?

 

Again, thanks so much.  All of these little side conversations are really helpful for poking the big spinning blob of my "how to fix things" thoughts into something a little more processable (processible? as if I needed more things to figure out...) 

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