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Bondsmith-Edgedancer

Reading Excuses - 5/30/2022 - Bondsmith/Edgedancer - [Unnamned]

5 posts in this topic

Hey guys, I know the pacing has been a bit slow, so let me know if you think these coming chapters are picking up the pace. I hear your complaints about no inciting incident, so I apologize that my story takes some time to get there. 

Thanks again for your feedback, I appreciate it.

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This is still going pretty slow for me. We still don't have any inciting incident yet, and we're five chapters in. My main concern here is that the MC is very passive. He thinks a big game about how he's so great, but hasn't actually done anything. I'm also unclear on the threat from the soldiers vs. what they protect against. They seem to be at least nominally on the villagers side, but they're the threat here, vs. whatever they're supposed to be protecting against. I think setting that up more definitely will help a lot.

I have some other comments in the notes below about where things started to drag for me. Some of this has already been covered in previous chapters, so I'm looking for more movement for the MC, either physically or mentally. Right now he's still exactly where he started.

Notes while reading:

CH 3
pg 1: The villagers don't know about the ashpiles that surround them?

pg 1: travelers vs. armies vs. news - flips too quickly between topics

pg 2: "wasn’t even going to arrive tomorrow"
--This was being built up, but now all the tension drops

pg 2: "dirty white uniforms "
--Wait, so they did arrive? confused

pg 3: The MC is sort of cheesy is his regard for himself.

pg 3: "I really hoped they didn’t try to inflict physical harm"
--but he's baiting them? What does he expect?

pg 4: unclear on the armies. I got the impression they were hostile, but they're protecting the village? What is the actual threat then?

pg 4: "laying about yourself"
--lying?

pg 5: "trust them to keep you safe?"
--unclear on threat here. What is the bigger threat than the army?

pg 6: This chapter was a bit muddied. I'm not really sure what's going on yet.

Ch 4
pg 7: I feel like most of this was already covered in the first chapter.

pg 9: "crumpled on the ground"
--when did he fall? Also, it's strange that if he's never seen the barrier before, he's more surprised by it looking like an attack than actually seeing the barrier.

pg 9: "I always thought fire-bears were a little smaller"
--wasn't fire-bears something he was just thinking about? Did he tell people that too?

pg 11: Still not a lot happening in this chapter. It's mainly how all the soldiers are bad, and I'm not sure why they're bad. It doesn't really have a direct impact on the MC.

CH 5
pg 12: "The army was actually that cruel?"
--I also want some sort of reason here.

pg 13: "all of them more nervous now that the soldiers had weapons."
--what did they expect, attacking soldiers?

pg 14: The MC is mostly just standing around observing. There's not really any forward movement.

pg 15: Okay, a good twist at the ending, but I don't think it was set up enough. Weren't the villagers afraid of the soldiers setting things of fire? How would they have done that if the barrier wouldn't let them? Making it very definite that the villagers expected to be protected would help the impact.

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Thanks for the feedback @Mandamon I appreciate you sticking with the story thus far even though it's slow and a bit boring. Hopefully I'll be able to fix some of these pacing issues, and flush out the MC a bit in the re-write. 

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Posted (edited)

@Bondsmith-Edgedancer tagging to make sure you see this, as I am very late. But I exist! Sorry about that. There have been many deadlines.

P1 “…usually the more mellow type of guy.” This piece has been pretty modern in tone so far, from what I recall (Sorry, it’s been a while since I read the last two chapters) but this stuck out even so. 

There seems to be a LOT of concern about the end of the world, but not a lot of things happening that look very … end-of-world-y. We’ve already been threatened with the failure of the narrator’s father’s spell, which then ended up being … not so big a deal, as far as I can tell? So I’m not feeling the threat from these soldiers coming through.

The narrator seems to be preparing to punish J and his army for something as they come through, but I feel like I’m guessing at his (? I don’t think we’ve actually established pronouns for the narrator yet. Sorry if this is WRS) feelings. Also, depending on how important this is going to be, it might be worth setting up in earlier chapters.

P2 section starts out by saying the army wasn’t even going to arrive tomorrow, but then they’re suddenly here, so this probably needs to be adjusted.

P3 “I really hoped they didn’t try to inflict physical harm…” Is that not the point of the narrator picking a fight?

P5 “What are you talking about?” Didn’t R already tell Z in the first coupe chapters she was leaving?

P9 I don’t get the jibe here about firebears at all.

P10 I think some dialogue tags are needed here, as I’m not sure who is saying what. Also consider looking at the paragraphing, because it feels like the person doing the action in any given paragraph may not be the person who’s doing the speaking? Worth taking a look at.

P12 “We’re running our morning drills.” Isn’t it nighttime?   Or is this the soldier being obtuse?

Overall: I think the thing that is missing most right now is a sense of forward motion. The narrator is getting into conflict, sure, but he seems to be drifting from one thing to the next without purpose. I don’t know why he is getting into fights with the soldiers, for example, so the fact that he is getting into fights with the soldiers becomes less meaningful. Five chapters in, even short chapters, we should have a clear inciting incident – what is it that propels the narrator into the rest of the story? It could maybe be the conflict with the soldiers, I’m not sure, but if so it needs to be moved up. If it’s the failure of the spell, then that needs to galvanize the character to action some how. And as we get farther in, we should be getting more an idea of where the conflict is going to lead and how different items – like the soldiers vs. the failing spell – are going to become connected.

The worldbuilding didn’t get a chance to shine quite as much in these sections but I still think it’s a major strength of the piece, and maybe somewhere you can look for inspiration to drive the character and the plot forward. Keep writing!

Edited by Silk
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