ginger_reckoning

12/26/22 - ginger_reckoning-changeling Ch3+4v1 (VGLDS)

10 posts in this topic

Here's chapter three and part of chapter 4. I cut off the last bit of chapter four for the word limit, but it might work as a chapter break anyway so idk. 
 
One of my main concerns for this chapter is that I worry part of it might be too similar to the Stormlight archive. It was originally inspired by Moses and Exodus from Bible, but I worry that I may have unintentionally made it too similar. I also think these two chapters might be able to be combined, as to get the inciting incident in chapter 3 instead of 4. Your thoughts?
 
This one has some very strong language and violence, references to drugs in a medical and recreational sense, and a brief mention of sex. 
 
Thanks again!
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Yes, I think these two chapters could probably be combined into one, along with cutting some of the discussion between pg 6 and 11. I don't think it adds a lot.

And yes, the end of this works as a great chapter break.

I was not expecting a bonafide supernatural agent to show up! Chapter 3 was good, and I liked the fight scene. It showed how powerless A and the M are compared to the others. I also liked that A also had no idea who this divine aspect was who shows up. I feel like in the Bible, people are just waiting around for angels to appear, but this was much more realistic. It almost comes across as a comedic moment, though. Not sure if that's what you intended? A has no idea who this being is giving out power, but of course he'll accept! He's got his own plans.

I also don't think think it's too similar to Stormlight. Most everything about the book so far is different.

Notes while reading:

pg 1: I think there's a bit too much description of things in the first paragraph before getting to the kicker--that it's burning. I thought we had switched scenes before I got to that bit.

pg 1: "He skidded, stooping low to hide behind the well"
--Is there a reason to think he would need to hide, rather than acting in an emergency rescue function? I thought he was saving people from the fire?

pg 2: noting that he recognized the person as a danger before hiding will make more sense.

pg 4/5: good action!

pg 6: "leaving the two of them alone in the burning square."
--The three of them? The pyro is still there, right?

pg 11: There's a lot of discussion and wandering so far in this chapter. I feel like it's missing a central point.

pg 12: Ah, there it is. Weird god appearing.

pg 13: I like that A is also not taking any crap from a late-appearing self-professed god.

pg 15: I'm surprised the phantom thinks anyone would pass up getting powers?

pg 16: It's definitely a deus-ex-machina, but I'm interested where this goes, especially as A doesn't seem to want to go along with whatever the phantom's plan is.
 

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Overall, I feel that the greatest weakness here is that there are a lot of things that we're being told that I think you can tell us instead. Pg. 7 through 10 in particular felt like a lot of telling and not a lot of showing, so I'd try to cut some of that out. Other than that, the plotting's straightforward, the detail on your scenery is good, and you've got, I think, a pretty good grasp of metaphor.  

I didn't really see many parallels to Stormlight, other than the 'depressed dude becomes a god's champion' bit, which Sanderson definitely didn't invent.  

Notes below: 

Pg. 1:

Flames poured out of windows—I wouldn't say 'poured', that implies they're falling. Maybe 'burst'? 

The voice called out again...—This whole paragraph is telling, not showing. 

It cast a dozen shadows onto the dirt...—I would recommend writing a snowflake simile here. 

A gasped and ran forward.—I would say that he dashed over to her. 

Someone else was approaching ahead and to his left.—I'd add some more detail to this. 

The person continued walking, seeming as if they hadn't seen him.—This sounds awkward. I'd change it to "The newcomer didn't see him and continued on."

Pg. 3

He caused his bones to become denser—I'd change this to "He increased the density of his bones."

He called out, hands flying...—I'd replace "He called out" with "He screamed"

Kidneys are in the back, and it definitely seems like A's attacking from the front. 

The man recovered, however, easily sidestepping the blow.—This makes it sound like the blow made contact, but then he sidesteps it? So he was recovering from the pebble?

Pg. 4

This fight wasn't over yet.—I'd rewrite this to prevent repetition, account of "Just like that, the fight was over."

Pg. 7

To top it all off, when C had brought the others to pick up Y and himself, the pyro had been gone.—I'd rewrite this to, "To top it all off, the pyro was gone by the time Cead came back with help."

Pg. 8

That wasn't the true story, from what they could tell.—They who? 

Which had worked.—I think you can delete this. We know they succeeded.

Pg. 11

I'd take the bird sentence and combine it with the previous paragraph, but remove "There, he saw it." I think it would add a bit more of an abrupt punch and give us a better sense of A's sorrow. 

Pg. 14

Need to unbold M's dialogue attribution. 

"You will?"—This probably isn't what you're going for, mood-wise, but I think changing this to "Wait, really?" would be pretty funny. 

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On 12/29/2022 at 8:43 AM, Mandamon said:

Yes, I think these two chapters could probably be combined into one, along with cutting some of the discussion between pg 6 and 11. I don't think it adds a lot.

 

18 hours ago, JWerner said:

Pg. 7 through 10 in particular felt like a lot of telling and not a lot of showing, so I'd try to cut some of that out.

That's good to know, the next pass's main goal will probably be to trim that down as much as possible. 

18 hours ago, JWerner said:

I'd take the bird sentence and combine it with the previous paragraph, but remove "There, he saw it." I think it would add a bit more of an abrupt punch and give us a better sense of A's sorrow

Thanks, that's a good suggestion!

18 hours ago, JWerner said:

You will?"—This probably isn't what you're going for, mood-wise, but I think changing this to "Wait, really?" would be pretty funny.

Lol

18 hours ago, JWerner said:

didn't really see many parallels to Stormlight, other than the 'depressed dude becomes a god's champion' bit, which Sanderson definitely didn't invent.  

Well that's good to hear

Thanks you two for the notes!

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You mention that you're worried that you've made this too similar to stormlight archive. I'm honestly not seeing too much similarity. 

I think these chapters would work well combined.

Pages 7-10 had a lot of telling.

Pg 1-"And now, it was all burning." The positive description of the neighborhood and then the burning really made me care. The bit about the neighborhood burning hit me surprisingly hard.

Pg 2-"The human pyrokinetic" Interesting. Until this point, I was under the impression that only other species had powers, but I guess that's not the case. I'm realizing I'm not entirely clear on the human and not human divide. 

Pg 2-“Shifters are about ninety-five percent less likely to become a conji than a human is." So shifters are a different species, and a conji is someone with a power?

Pg 3-"drawing what little mass he could from his already dangerously small fat reserves." This reminds me of the khandra from Mistborn. It's also interesting that a shifter can just move around its mass and not create new mass. I like the limitation on their powers.

Pg 4-"Pyrokinetics, while able to start fires, were not fireproof themselves." Oof, my mind immediately went to all the ways a pyrokinetic could accidentally hurt themselves. No wonder they have issues.

Pg 6-"He stared at the unconscious human." I thought Y was a shifter. In the beginning of your last submission, you mentioned his tattoos shifting due to his power. Does he have some power aside from being a shifter that allowed his tattoos to move? 

Pg's 13-14-I'm loving the way that A is casually talking to a divine apparition. I find it quite funny.

 

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On 1/5/2023 at 6:13 AM, FlowerGirl said:

Pages 7-10 had a lot of telling.

That seems to be the consensus. I will definitely work on that. 

On 1/5/2023 at 6:13 AM, FlowerGirl said:

Pg 1-"And now, it was all burning." The positive description of the neighborhood and then the burning really made me care. The bit about the neighborhood burning hit me surprisingly hard

I'm glad that it worked for you!

On 1/5/2023 at 6:13 AM, FlowerGirl said:

Pg 2-“Shifters are about ninety-five percent less likely to become a conji than a human is." So shifters are a different species, and a conji is someone with a power

That is correct, yes

Thank you flowergirl!

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As I read:

“And now, it was all burning.” I’m still coming back to the idea that I wanted more of an escalation up to this point. This seems like it would have taken a lot of people moving quickly to create, maybe more than a mob could accomplish in such a short time.

P2 “A con who could multiply the energy…” this feels a little info-dumpy here even though it’s brief – it detracts from the urgency.
Edit: Although I did appreciate the “In A’s experience…” line here!

P3 “…easily sidestepping the blow.” The earlier sentences (“to hit his kidney” and “recovered”) made me think A had actually connected at first.

P4 “..cold disks of metal.” So A’s opponent is heating the discs? Wouldn’t those have the same problem as any other heat/fire – they’d burn him too? Unless those are very thick gloves.

P5 “his thoughts flowed languidly.” Not sure what is meant by this.

It’s very telling that the characters don’t even think of killing the unconscious enemy, as opposed to even deciding not to, but maybe hang a lantern on it so it doesn’t seem like the narrative just forgot about him.

P7: “She died anyway.” There’s something about this very bald statement that I find very effective. Nice.

I know I keep harping on this (sorry), but can five people really wreak this much havoc? Maybe some more details on the scale of what was actually attacked/destroyed?

P8 “They didn’t know that Wa was a [shapeshifter] community” Wait, really? I thought that was the whole reason for the attack.

               Edit: Ah, addressed in the next paragraph. Still, I’m still feeling a bit of confusion here – until the scale of the destruction was apparent, this was presented as a very routine raid that the characters had been through before. I didn’t get the sense that this was particularly out of the ordinary. So, I’m having trouble reconciling the info being presented here.  

P9 “…or it had been an inside job.” This seems a little understated for what is presumably a really big deal.

P13: “Huh. Alright.” I find the thought of A sitting around casually conversing with something he thinks is a hallucination hilarious, but it’s a little incongruous, not quite the humour the story has gone for so far.

Overall: So far so good. The pacing seems to be moving largely in the right direction, and this is a good escalation of the inciting incident. I commented on this a few times throughout but I am definitely struggling with scale as it relates to A’s gang/community and the attack.

My biggest stumbling block though was the appearance of the power/creature that talks to A in the last few pages of the sub, which I felt like I haven’t been prepared for by the last few chapters. More specifically, I did feel that we were being geared up for A to do something major (aside from him being the protagonist, his feelings of powerlessness were effective here) but not for that thing to be furnished by an external source, which seems to pop up for the first time when it addresses A.

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18 hours ago, Silk said:

“And now, it was all burning.” I’m still coming back to the idea that I wanted more of an escalation up to this point. This seems like it would have taken a lot of people moving quickly to create, maybe more than a mob could accomplish in such a short time

I think on the next revision I will be more specific about how much exactly is burning, but yes, could definitely use more buildup. I think a lot of it is coming back to the fact that I need another chapter/scene before this to establish some things

18 hours ago, Silk said:

It’s very telling that the characters don’t even think of killing the unconscious enemy, as opposed to even deciding not to, but maybe hang a lantern on it so it doesn’t seem like the narrative just forgot about him.

hah, I definitely didn't forget to mention that they wanted to keep him alive to question him...I will make sure to include that in the next draft

18 hours ago, Silk said:

P7: “She died anyway.” There’s something about this very bald statement that I find very effective. Nice.

Thanks!

18 hours ago, Silk said:

My biggest stumbling block though was the appearance of the power/creature that talks to A in the last few pages of the sub, which I felt like I haven’t been prepared for by the last few chapters. More specifically, I did feel that we were being geared up for A to do something major (aside from him being the protagonist, his feelings of powerlessness were effective here) but not for that thing to be furnished by an external source, which seems to pop up for the first time when it addresses A

That seems to be the consensus here. Again, I think that I could definitely use some more foreshadowing here, but I'm still a bit reluctant to add more before this point because it takes 30+ pages to get to the inciting incident. 

Thanks Silk!

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11 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

That seems to be the consensus here. Again, I think that I could definitely use some more foreshadowing here, but I'm still a bit reluctant to add more before this point because it takes 30+ pages to get to the inciting incident.

Fair enough, and generally a good instinct, but... is the appearance of Mel actually your inciting incident? Or is it the letter and subsequent raid that's the inciting incident, with the appearance of Mel and A's gaining of powers a complication in the later part of the story?

To me, this actually feels more like the latter, which means if anything you can probably take more time to get there, building it up and having this power finally come to A (with proper foreshadowing of course) in a really dark moment. If you're set on having it as the inciting incident, then yeah, I'd be looking for ways to jump into the action and get there probably in the first chapter, but as presented I honestly don't think it has to be.

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12 hours ago, Silk said:

Fair enough, and generally a good instinct, but... is the appearance of Mel actually your inciting incident? Or is it the letter and subsequent raid that's the inciting incident, with the appearance of Mel and A's gaining of powers a complication in the later part of the story?

You know, I have not considered this before. Lots to think about!

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