ginger_reckoning

Reading Excuses-12-19-22- ginger_reckoning-changeling ch2v1 (VGLD) (3171 words)

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Hi all! Thanks again for reading this. 

So I ended up not finishing this over NaNoWriMo because I got like seven chapters in, got stuck, then rewrote the outline and started again. So I'm going to start subbing in here because the weekly deadlines will hopefully motivate me to actually finish it. 
 
Since this is more of a first draft, I'm mainly looking for whether the plot makes logical sense, your thoughts on characters and the overall structure. Though of course any critiques are welcome.
 
Anyways, this story will end up being quite dark and violent, with much of the violence being racially motivated, so just heads up. 
 
Recap: Ay is a member of a shapeshifting race that lives in the city. While on a job, he learned that the city has a new law that will require all shapeshifters to wear a metal armband or be arrested. He fears the army will make a move on his neighborhood, so he goes to warn them. 
 
Also, the title "Changeling" is just a placeholder. If you have any suggestions for the title, PLEASE let me know!
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Overall, I enjoyed this, but I'm struggling to put into words what was bugging me. I think the whole chapter is a little disjointed. There's some plot going on, except A isn't part of it, and then there's some downtime with him tending the sick and his parent, and then he stumbles into finding out about the fire. But he isn't proacting for any part of it. He's always reacting. It makes this chapter more passive when it should have A heroically rescuing the sick.

 

Notes while reading

pg 4: "“What’s going on?” someone shouted."
--There's something off in this section. A's told to take care of the sick, then goes in and riles them all up to move them around, and scares them by having them wear bandanas like there's something suddenly infectious that there wasn't before. I'm not sure why he's doing all this.

pg 6: a bit of an infodump with wishing for powers.

pg 8: "He wasn’t sure what had possessed him to come out here in the first place. He turned to go inside, but something caught his nose."
--It seems a little plotful to have him wander over to a door just to smell the next plot point.

pg 9: "He channeled their fear. He shouted orders, demanding attention and obedience"
--This seems a big switch. I thought it was magic powers first, but I think it's just that he's acting? which begs the question of why Y told him to tend the sick if he's so good at this. His talents might be better for whatever plan is going on.

pg 11: I was a little confused here with what was happening. I thought at first R was still trapped, but then was crawling out of the wreckage and had latched onto A's ankle. Instead he going running off after some noise.
 

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On 12/21/2022 at 7:50 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 4: "“What’s going on?” someone shouted."
--There's something off in this section. A's told to take care of the sick, then goes in and riles them all up to move them around, and scares them by having them wear bandanas like there's something suddenly infectious that there wasn't before. I'm not sure why he's doing all this.

They sent some non-sick people to shelter there. I think I can probably make this a little clearer

On 12/21/2022 at 7:50 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: a bit of an infodump with wishing for powers.

pg 8: "He wasn’t sure what had possessed him to come out here in the first place. He turned to go inside, but something caught his nose."
--It seems a little plotful to have him wander over to a door just to smell the next plot point.

yeah...*sigh*

Thanks for the notes! I definitely think on the next pass I will be trying to make A more proactive. He also has this probelm in some later chapters, which I'll have to take a look at. 

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By and large, you're writing's pretty good. Straightforward, easy to visualize. Could maybe use a bit more flavor. Also, I'm trying to figure out how you pronounce some of the names. 

I didn't feel all that terribly invested in whatever was happening in this chapter, and like Mandamon, I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why. I think, in my case, it could be that there weren't many interesting character interactions going on. I was kind of interested in Y, but then she just leaves less than two full pages in. C feels like the kind of person who's deliberately trying to be eccentric and weird, and circles back around to being cringey. And there's not enough going on yet between A and R for met to feel a genuinely familial bond between them. But hey, we're only two chapters in. There's gonna be time and opportunity to stick in more detail.

Notes below:  


Pg. 1:

"So you think the army's gonna try crap tonight?"—Might be a bit modern, but I think "start sh*t" would sound better. 

"They already wore their flight harness over their clothes, since it was likely they would have gone scouting tonight anyway."—The tense here is kinda fudged. They 'already' wore a harness for something they'd apparently already done?

"What about me, sir?" A said, also standing.—Already mentioned that he's standing up.

Pg. 2:

"You've got sharp eyes and you're probably one of the best plants I've ever seen."—She said she was going to cut the fat, but this feels like fat. 

Pg. 4

'The warehouse was now a bustling reef of activity, people, like schools of fish..." I think you can leave out the bolded left, since you already made the aquatic comparison.

Grammatical note: It's incorrect to stick a hyphen after any word ending in 'ly' 

Pg. 6

"It's not TB again, is it?"—Since the backstory behind the whole coin tradition was explained, and this wasn't, it's pretty obvious that this is something you're trying to build a mystery over. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is obvious. 

Pg. 7

"It's not like I'm going to have a heart attack."—Calling it. Foreshadowing. 

Pg. 9

"...the wood scraping terribly against cement."—I feel that you could describe this in greater sensory detail. 

Pg. 11

"I love you, baba," he whispered.—I don't feel like the situation warrants a whisper. If he's running to save someone from a burning building, you'd think A would be more frantic and that would reflect on his voice. 

Edited by JWerner
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20 hours ago, JWerner said:

"So you think the army's gonna try crap tonight?"—Might be a bit modern, but I think "start sh*t" would sound better. 

Yeah, I think you're probably right

 

21 hours ago, JWerner said:

You've got sharp eyes and you're probably one of the best plants I've ever seen."—She said she was going to cut the fat, but this feels like fat. 

Fair enough

21 hours ago, JWerner said:

Grammatical note: It's incorrect to stick a hyphen after any word ending in 'ly' 

Huh. The more you know!

 

21 hours ago, JWerner said:

"I love you, baba," he whispered.—I don't feel like the situation warrants a whisper. If he's running to save someone from a burning building, you'd think A would be more frantic and that would reflect on his voice. 

Good point!

21 hours ago, JWerner said:

I think, in my case, it could be that there weren't many interesting character interactions going on.

Thanks, that's an interesting note for me. That is definitely something that I need to work on, especially as more plot comes into play. 

Thanks!

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Apologies for the lateness and briefness of my reply. I hope that my feedback can still be helpful.

So far the plot is making sense. I'm not very invested in A. The character that interested me most was R, and I felt the mentions of biomages seemed to suggest a future encounter with them.

Pg 2-“Make sure they’re well situated.”-It almost feels like a letdown to hear about fighting and then have A sent to the sick bay.

Pg 2-"They wore their safe form"-The description of C felt a bit long.

Pg 9-"Murderers wandering the streets in packs." I enjoyed this bit of imagery. It created quite a vivid picture in my mind.

Pg 10-"This was someone who wanted them all dead." I feel more satisfied with A being sent to the sick bay now that there's chaos and he has a purpose.

Overall I enjoyed this but wasn't terribly invested in A, and my lack of investment in him is making it difficult to get invested in the plot.

 

 

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I like the idea of a gang of marginalized magic users, but—and this might be overly nitpicky—I’m getting “community organization” vibes from this, not at all gang vibes.

P2 I don’t really understand what A has been asked to do. “Make sure they’re well situated” could mean anything. Is this a code word? An existing procedure? Or is it busywork?

P3 “one would not desecrate that safety by…” Welp this terrible thing is 100% going to happen now.

I’m also not really getting much of a sense of danger yet, at least not in the immediate sense. I seem to recall feeling that in the last chapter as well – that things are obviously going in a bad direction, but I don’t have the sense that they’re immediately going to blow up (even considering the notice that was posted last chapter).

P4 “walking through” what? Some visual descriptors would be helpful. Is this a town? A neighbourhood? A single building? And the sick bay – has there been a recent incident resulting in a bunch of people needing it or is this just a standard hospital?

What are the bandanas for?

P5 “Everything is under control” Got a bit of a chuckle at this, as this seems like a surefire way to assure people that things are not under control. I’m almost wondering if we are supposed to see him as ineffective at this? If we are, maybe hang more of a lantern on it.

P7 “It’s nothing…” is he really going to hide the fact that he thinks there might be a raid? If nothing else I would think R can see the preparations.

P10 “he made a decision” we had another instance of this line or very close to it only two or three pages ago

 Overall:  The pacing in the early part of the chapter felt stronger, though as you’ll see in my LBLs I had a lot of questions about various relatively small things. They don’t all need to be answered all at once but I think a stronger grounding in the setting would help. The biggest thing I was missing, I think, was a sense of mounting danger in the early bits – not that I was bored in the early bits, though I do think the tension can be upped even further,  but I felt I wasn’t prepared for the escalation in the latter half of the chapter when things went so drastically wrong. Particularly when the building was suddenly burning – it felt almost like we had a try/fail cycle without the “try.” I wanted more of an opportunity to see the protagonist try to stop things before they actually went wrong.

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9 hours ago, Silk said:

I like the idea of a gang of marginalized magic users, but—and this might be overly nitpicky—I’m getting “community organization” vibes from this, not at all gang vibes.

 

Believe it or not, that is actually the vibe I am going for. In later chapters this will get a lampshade, as they interact with other gangs who are more gang-like. Do you think that lantern-hanging should come sooner?

9 hours ago, Silk said:

P3 “one would not desecrate that safety by…” Welp this terrible thing is 100% going to happen now.

:-| 

9 hours ago, Silk said:

“Everything is under control” Got a bit of a chuckle at this, as this seems like a surefire way to assure people that things are not under control. I’m almost wondering if we are supposed to see him as ineffective at this? If we are, maybe hang more of a lantern on it.

That is a good point, thanks

10 hours ago, Silk said:

The biggest thing I was missing, I think, was a sense of mounting danger in the early bits – not that I was bored in the early bits, though I do think the tension can be upped even further,  but I felt I wasn’t prepared for the escalation in the latter half of the chapter when things went so drastically wrong. Particularly when the building was suddenly burning – it felt almost like we had a try/fail cycle without the “try.” I wanted more of an opportunity to see the protagonist try to stop things before they actually went wrong

Hmmm yeah, I see what you mean. This will be a challenge since I mainly wanted to get to the inciting incident as quickly as possible, but I think maybe if I revise this chapter and the one before so that A actually *knows* an attack is coming (like maybe he heard something while in disguise idk) it will solve some of the problems these chapters seems to have. 

Thanks Silk!

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5 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

In later chapters this will get a lampshade, as they interact with other gangs who are more gang-like. Do you think that lantern-hanging should come sooner?

Yeah, I think that would be helpful! It could probably be a fairly small thing for now and expand to your already-planned lamp-shading in the later chapters. It felt like a small thing in this chapter but it was definitely something I noticed.

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