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JWerner

Reading Excuses - 11/28/22 - JWerner - The Witch and the Ostrich, ch. 8 & 9 - 4449 words (S, L, V, G)

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Here's the tail end of chapter 8 and all of chapter 9 for this week. (Though honestly, the first scene could also be part of chapter 9. Might rearrange it later.)

 
Last time, Q revealed the reason why she keeps F around, and severed their working relationship. F departs, but returns immediately and recovers the talisman of U the E.  Q attempts to contact her fellow witch J for help, only for another witch, E, to inform her that she is marching on QW with some of the dreaded S. Right afterwards, B the vampire reaches Q's hiding place. Q takes aim at B with her magical musket.
 
Only one more submission after this one. Also, apologies for emailing this one out early; I meant to do a timed send. 
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So F can get hungry even though he’s dead. Interesting. Actually, that reminds me, is he still running around with his head just, like, precariously balanced on his neck? How has it not fallen off?

 P2: is he actually expecting to get answers out of the zombie? Because it’s one thing for him to goofily address it, but 2 or three lines into this conversation it seems like he’s asking in earnest.

…Oh, the zombie responded. Huh.

P3 Not sure what is meant by “expelled itself.” At first I thought he yelled, but I think maybe he just means he wasn’t feeling this emotion anymore?

Bit of an emotional impact between para 1 and para 2 of Q’s scene. At first she seems just performatively annoyed by the fact that the gun didn’t work, but the second paragraph she’s panicked. And again I find myself wondering what kind of magic she can actually do? She keeps talking about how she’s a witch, but we’ve only really seen her be a journalist.

I do, however, like the fact that B apparently reads her articles.

I’m not uninterested in the conversation Q and B are having, but it does feel like it’s going on a little long. Also the background with the staring zombies and so forth seems to have completely disappeared. Has all the chaos stopped?

P7 I’m not sure this is a problem per se since it clearly has an impact on Q, but the reveal that B is someone else doesn’t have an impact on me as a reader, since I don’t know anything about all this. I’m not sure this is supposed to be that kind of moment, though.

My main thought now as I read through this conversation is that I have no idea where it’s going.

P9 I think that more of a sense of menace/danger would be helpful building up to B trying to … eat? Q. Wasn’t there something in earlier chapters about B just being able to control other people? Why isn’t she doing that here?

P13 “Her head imploded.” That was… abrupt.

So this was F? I’d assumed it was the approaching witch army.

“Could ostriches smile?” If they’re anything like emus, yes, and they’re murderous smiles.

P15 Ah. Maybe this is the witch army. And hey, I’m glad Q finally gets to do… something.

Overall: I’m still largely enjoying this line-by-line, and the balance of antics to action felt better this time, though there was still at least one spot where I couldn’t tell how much of what we were seeing was the characters being performatively goofy and how much was them being earnest. And, having gotten to the end of the chapter, the conversation between B and Q definitely feels a little long, but I think the biggest issue is that I felt like I didn’t have the understanding to appreciate what was actually happening in that conversation. Some of that is down to worldbuilding – just about everything that I know about the politics and history of your world was revealed in that same conversation, with the exception of only a couple minor tidbits – but I also don’t understand what this means for the characters. We really know nothing about Q’s goals, her relationships with these other characters she’s pledged to serve, what she stands or lose to gain aside from trying to save her own skin. I’m really feeling anxious to start seeing snippets of a bigger picture.

Edit: omg first!

Ahem. Sorry, sorry. It just happens so rarely.

Edited by Silk
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Overall, similar comments to @Silk on this one. I'm enjoying the story and the humor a lot, but I feel the twists and turns in this last submission (and probably in the last one, next time) don't have the impact they could. I think most of it is the worldbuilding, but also I think the story is drifting a little from what was originally promised at the beginning--or rather wasn't. I remember saying I wasn't sure where the story was going in the first and second submissions, so that would be a great place to drop in some tidbits of the worldbuilding we see here, like several members of the court had been exiled, or what the other witches were doing.

Looking forward to the last one!

Notes while reading:
pg 3: I was a little confused on what F was feeling and what it meant.

pg 5:  "E? Is that you?"
--should we know who this is? Was this one of the witches from last time?

pg 6: "you’re just one rose."
--Yes, I've been curious about this the whole time.

pg 7: The who revelation is taken down a bit because we have no idea who this person is. You maybe could include an off hand reference about Y somewhere near the beginning to plant a seed of recognition.

pg 9: "Unless they knew."
--this part is sort of a pivot from the main story. We're veering off into a different one about the witches, when they haven't really been integral yet.

pg 11: "Though really, how well did she truly know E?"
--we can't really answer this, as readers, because we don't know.

pg 13: "Hark, fiend!"
--great interruption.

pg 13: "She watched as maybe the most important story of her career bled away"
--I think some of these big revelations are missing the mark just slightly because we don't have enough buildup at the beginning. Also, in this case, she was trying to kill B until about 5 minutes ago, so this should overall be a relief.

pg 15: "Q snapped her fingers"
--interesting. I'm wondering what power she has left.

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I liked how this chapter got into some intrigue, but it did seem kind of out of nowhere since we just barely even learned who E and the other witches are, and I don't know the significance of this civil servant disappearing in the first place. It seems interesting, but I just have no frame of reference to know what any of it means. Also, again, I don't really know what she can and can't do with her magic, which has been brought up before.

Looking over Mandamon and Silk's sumbmissions, I also agree with a lot of their points. Great submission!

 

Opening the doc now!

Pg 1 “if she were smart” – she might do the opposite of this, since this is what is expected, and makes it less likely for her to be found

“When he’d turned” oof, very long sentence here. I don’t necessarily think it’s a run-on, but it is a mouthful.

Pg 2

“vermillion” nice

Pg 4

“her own magic” so is the vampire using Q’s magic to talk to her?

Pg 5

I was not expecting the vampire to be a fan…

Pg 6

“How do you you know her?” repeated “You”

Pg 8

She does not seem harmless at all lol. I also think that maybe Q would be a little more resentful, seeing as how it was the queen who made her stay with F?

“Now, if I were were betting” repeated “were”

Pg 10

Well I do like the intrigue here! It makes me wonder how this will be resolved in just two more chapters…

“He reached out for Q” I thought this was a timeskip or POV change for a second because of the line skip.

Pg 11

“a cat was smarter than a rock” I don’t get this, seems a bit unnecessary

Pg 13

“broke in half” how does it break in half? I thought it was leathery like a banana peel?

“Her head imploded” Ok, this was unexpected lol

 

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