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ginger_reckoning

1/23/22-ginger_reckoning-changeling sub 6 (chapter 5 revision) 4637 words (DLS)

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decided to go back and revise the meeting chapter (which I have not subbed before) I cut a lot of material from the meeting and put some of the content from the chapter from my last sub earlier, and I think it works a little better now. I also combined the two chapters, and it ended up being about 7200 words, so I am just going to sub the parts that I haven't put out here yet. That being said, I made a few minor changes to the latter half of the chapter to accommodate some of the changes I made, such as C being in on the plan from the beginning. The chapter still ends with A going out.

 
Anyways, that was long-winded. I still think that I could probably cut this down even further, but I'm curious to hear what you think. Tags are for language, and passing references to drugs and sex work. 
 
Thank you!
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Excited to jump into this! :)

Overall:

I think you have a good pulse on the fact that there’s some good stuff in here but it could be cut down a bit. Right now I see the essential events as: A suggests to stay, A suggests to steal chickens, H refutes and leaves in a huff due to the danger. I think the pages of dialogue and internality in between these moments can be turned into paragraphs of summary (or potentially even cut altogether), because right now they feel more relevant for the setting than the plot, and we can get a feel of the setting pretty quickly (even me who’s coming in partway through). Alternatively, if these moments are important to the plot, it needs to be clearer how they connect, either introducing more plot here or waiting until that plot is relevant to bring up these other issues.

As I go:

Pg 1-2. I’m liking the sense of shift we get in A’s perspective but I don’t think that’s enough to constitute plot motion right now

Pg 3. I’m kind of curious what A makes of M. I’m seeing some red flags here lol

Pg 5. A suggesting to stay feels like the first bit of real plot atop the setting dressing. I’d suggest summarizing everything before and getting here quickly (I’m thinking page 1-2)

Pg 7. A’s second suggestion here is the second real plot event. Again I’d focus more on this and less on the backdrop

Pg 8. Maybe I’m in the minority on this but I really like slang in fantasy; keep it up with the “dude” :)

Pg 10. This is another key moment to keep I think. So far I see the plot as A throws out a couple of suggestions and H refutes it. Everything else feels non-essential

Pg 11. Wait does he know that M can influence his thoughts or does he just suspect that?

Pg 14. If the story wants to focus on A being a beacon of hope for the people I think we need more on that throughout the chapter and it needs to be integrated into their plans to be plot-relevant

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Overall

I think this submission wanders a lot. There's good information and character development, but there doesn't seem to be any sort of narrative arc. The chicken was the start of one but then it didn't pan out to anything. I think there's a lot you can cut and streamline in here, likely even blend with another chapter so that you keep the MC development, but also move along with the plot.

Unsure if this is helpful so take what you need out of it. As you go, something to keep in mind is that strong chapters advance usually three plot threads, the A plot (in a story like this, usually some sort of political or action plot), the B plot (emotional growth, character development) and the a C plot (romance or interpersonal relationship). It's the balance and the progression of all three elements, along with a clear arc to the chapter (start, middle, end) that give chapters power and propel the reader to the next one. When we talk about something lagging, it's usually that the reader can't find a hold on any of the three plot threads, and thus the information presented feels extraneous. 

As I go

- pg 3: assuming this is because I've not read the previous chapters, but I am lost. I'm not sure what is going on

- pg 5: I think we might be missing movement and directionality to this meeting. Which of course, makes it a true to real life meeting, but also makes it hard to read. I can't see any plot movement so I don't know what conversational threads are worth following

- pg 7: the MC's view that prostitiution is a 'simple' job does not endear me to them

- pg 8: the point to this chapter appears to revolve around food? If so, I suggest trimming so that the reader can clearly see that is the focus. Once our MC decides to embrace food, we get a lot more plot movement

- the meeting chapter doesn't flow super well into the out-of-meeting portion. Seems a good place for a chapter break

- pg 11: plot is lagging again. It sounded like they were about to begin some grand chicken caper but now it's a lot of talking without movement again

 

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5 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Alternatively, if these moments are important to the plot, it needs to be clearer how they connect, either introducing more plot here or waiting until that plot is relevant to bring up these other issues.

 

5 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I’m liking the sense of shift we get in A’s perspective but I don’t think that’s enough to constitute plot motion right now

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

pg 5: I think we might be missing movement and directionality to this meeting. Which of course, makes it a true to real life meeting, but also makes it hard to read. I can't see any plot movement so I don't know what conversational threads are worth following

Noted. It looks like I can cut even more from this scene, which is good to know. Arc-wise, this is supposed to come before the chapter I subbed last time, so the arc ends with them deciding to sneak out and start scouting out the chicken job anyway. Sorry, I know it's confusing to have it split up like that. I still think though, based on these comments, that that arc might still be a little fragmented/ineffectual, so I will see what I can do to make it work better. 

5 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

If the story wants to focus on A being a beacon of hope for the people I think we need more on that throughout the chapter and it needs to be integrated into their plans to be plot-relevant

Good point, thanks!

1 hour ago, kais said:

the MC's view that prostitiution is a 'simple' job does not endear me to them

He views it as "simple" in comparison to impersonating a specific person, which he did in an earlier chapter. I will make sure to specify this

1 hour ago, kais said:

the meeting chapter doesn't flow super well into the out-of-meeting portion. Seems a good place for a chapter break

I originally did have a chapter break here, so it's interesting to see that it still feels like a natural place to have one! I think I'll probably put it back

Thank you Ace of Hearts and kais!

 

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P1 “There is obviously something wrong…”  was unsure if this person was talking to or about A here.

“Considering the power his company held…” I don’t understand what is meant here.

P2 “…not a tool.” Fair statement from C here, and maybe this is just because the sub is a bit non-linear, but I’m not getting the impression so far that A is actually being used. People are suspicious of him here but that’s not the same thing.

Also, I’m kind of surprised that O is so open about his suspicion. If O is suspicious of A, this seems like bad strategy.

P3 From the “we don’t talk about Mele” thing happening between A and C here, I’m guessing that random spiritual beings aren’t part of how one usually becomes a con?

“…but A could still feel it prowling around and in him” good. There’s more of a sense of menace here than when A pushed back against M in prior subs. If M is humouring him and waiting him for the right moment (or something) then things like this could be very helpful foreshadowing.

P4 A’s reaction to the “bone and blood” thing at the top of p4 seems really understated, especially since he doesn’t spend any time thinking about it here, even with the justification of “he didn’t want to be caught…”

Still wondering about “it will only take a week.” Seems arbitrary.

P5 “He may be new…” to the council which is what this meeting seems to be? He’s obviously not new to the community.

Are we supposed to assume N is hiding something? I’m assuming N is hiding something.

P7 “It seemed like O would become even more important…” I’m singling out this line in particular because it there’s really no indication of what O’s actual role is here, but there’s a lot going on here that we haven’t been privy to, and it’s hard to follow. Suddenly they’re talking about profits rather than survival, but also there are pimps and their involvement in supplying drugs. I think we need more info to make this meaningful, probably in the last few chapters getting to this point.

Omg please tell me A’s going to eat all of these hypothetical chickens

P10 the exchange with H seemed mostly like a rehash of the meeting. I’m not sure how it moves us forward.

Overall: There’s a lot going on in this chapter. I touched on this in my LBLs with reference to being thrown into the gang politics, but there’s also just a bunch of stuff happening, and I’m not sure what the through-line is: There’s the meeting, which doesn’t seem to result in any clear direction for the characters yet; there’s the weird chicken job, which I admittedly kind of adore but which doesn’t seem to fit into the urgency of everything else that’s happening; there’s the emotional fall-out from how the mil now regard A which I’ve kind of been wanting which doesn’t last very long; there’s the interaction with A’s parent. I think perhaps a clearer focus for the chapter, with the other things happening on the sidelines, might help. I do like that Mel seems to be a more menacing character here, and assuming that I’m correct in thinking it’s not a benevolent entity, I think that can be punched up even more.

Edited by Silk
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Similar thoughts to what the others said on this one. There are some good parts, but not a cohesive structure to the chapter. I think cutting parts of this and pulling the next event in the story sooner will help that. We get some good development with how A is perceived now, but then we need another reason to keep going.

Notes while reading:

Pg 1: Shows well why A would be distracted!

pg 2: "macca-whatevers"
--not sure what this is referring to.

pg 3: "You’re right. I apologize,"
--This just doesn't seem like something a god would do...

pg 3: "Particularly, you must consume much flesh, bone, and blood."
--that's ominous.

pg 5: “Why exactly are they here again?” 
--he?

pg 7: could probably cut the last page of the meeting down even more.

pg 11: Can probably cut this middle section down a bit as well. It's starting to drag as they keep talking about chickens.

pg 12: "They talked about keeping an eye on me for now. Make sure I’m not a liability.” 
--That line could be stronger. There's a big difference between "keep an eye on someone" and "set an armed guard on them"

pg 13: "doesn’t go by ‘she’ anymore. They go by ‘they’ now,” 
--I don't remember this being a point before and the M mostly use "they." Is this important to the plot?

pg 16: "There was work to be done"
--I think the end of the chapter could be stronger. It sort of fizzles out after pg 11. Maybe tie in the next even that will happen to keep up the pace?

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On 1/24/2023 at 7:29 PM, Silk said:

“Considering the power his company held…” I don’t understand what is meant here.

Meaning the power they have over the community, as leaders of the gang. Will make this more clear. 

On 1/24/2023 at 7:29 PM, Silk said:

Also, I’m kind of surprised that O is so open about his suspicion. If O is suspicious of A, this seems like bad strategy.

Hmmm, yeah that is a good point. 

On 1/24/2023 at 7:29 PM, Silk said:

P3 From the “we don’t talk about Mele” thing happening between A and C here, I’m guessing that random spiritual beings aren’t part of how one usually becomes a con?

I'm hoping to address this in the next main revision when I add another chapter before the Mel incident to establish some stuff, but yes, when most con are made they just wake up with powers, with no voice or anything like that

On 1/24/2023 at 7:29 PM, Silk said:

P7 “It seemed like O would become even more important…” I’m singling out this line in particular because it there’s really no indication of what O’s actual role is here, but there’s a lot going on here that we haven’t been privy to, and it’s hard to follow. Suddenly they’re talking about profits rather than survival, but also there are pimps and their involvement in supplying drugs. I think we need more info to make this meaningful, probably in the last few chapters getting to this point

Fair enough. That seems to be the consensus here.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Can probably cut this middle section down a bit as well. It's starting to drag as they keep talking about chickens.

This was one of the reasons that I had trouble writing this chapter originally, since there is a lot of information that seems necessary to introduce before moving onto what I think is the "part 2" of the story, which I'm just not sure I can get away with by revealing it later during the actual caper and whatnot. This chapter is going to be a doozy to revise.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

"doesn’t go by ‘she’ anymore. They go by ‘they’ now,” 
--I don't remember this being a point before and the M mostly use "they." Is this important to the plot?

Not really, mainly just a bit of worldbuilding/backstory. 

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

"Particularly, you must consume much flesh, bone, and blood."
--that's ominous.

That's good! Does this come across as too ominous? I think by now its no secret that I am trying to set up Mel as "not quite good". Is this too much?

Thank you Silk and Mandamon!

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On 1/26/2023 at 0:55 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

That's good! Does this come across as too ominous? I think by now its no secret that I am trying to set up Mel as "not quite good". Is this too much?

Nope! I think it's just right.

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On 1/26/2023 at 9:55 AM, ginger_reckoning said:

That's good! Does this come across as too ominous? I think by now its no secret that I am trying to set up Mel as "not quite good". Is this too much?

Nope, I thought it was good. In general, this is definitely clear by now but I don't think you have to be afraid of doing stuff like this, either. It is bugging me a bit that A doesn't seem to be picking up on these cues at all, even subconsciously. A bit more of that might help make it more apparent for those who still need that, reduce frustration with A seeming naive, and build up a bit more tension.

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Sorry for coming to this late, I just got the time to sit down with it. Also, I wasn't sure if I should since I haven't read anything else of this story, but wow I'm glad I did! First of all given I know nothing else about this story you did an excellent job in showing what was going on, and the characters were so distinct I had no problem just jumping into the middle here. So well done! I wish my writing was this good! 

Page 1 "Beneath them" I'm guessing you want this repetition, but the academic writer in me wants to find a different way of saying it the second time.

Page 6 "Thee" it's fine, but none of M's dialog elsewhere uses thee or thine so it kicked me out

Page 11 I am so impressed with how well you use the pronouns They/Them. I have to say when I needed to write a gender neutral character I cheated and resorted to using first person because I just don't have this good of a command of the language. This is the best I have seen it done- good job!

Page? I forgot to mark it, but I loved the hand signal stuff. I love that kind of character inside familiarity. I eat that stuff up!

For me I didn't think there was too much going on in this sequence. It all made sense to me and flowed pretty well. This is probably why everyone had a hard time with my chapter. I like when there's a lot going on and a lot of characters to bounce around. I probably just don't handle it all as well as you. Anyway, I enjoyed this- it was fun! 

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On 1/27/2023 at 9:56 PM, Cathy Lim said:

First of all given I know nothing else about this story you did an excellent job in showing what was going on, and the characters were so distinct I had no problem just jumping into the middle here. So well done!

Well thank you! That's very sweet of you

On 1/27/2023 at 9:56 PM, Cathy Lim said:

Page 1 "Beneath them" I'm guessing you want this repetition, but the academic writer in me wants to find a different way of saying it the second time

Thank you for pointing this out!

On 1/27/2023 at 9:56 PM, Cathy Lim said:

This is probably why everyone had a hard time with my chapter. I like when there's a lot going on and a lot of characters to bounce around. I probably just don't handle it all as well as you. Anyway, I enjoyed this- it was fun! 

Well, that is interesting, thank you. That's nice of you to say, but you know what they say about comparison being the thief of joy. If Stephen King submitted something here, this group would probably rip him apart, so don't necessarily take this group's reaction as a reflection of the quality of your work.

Thank you Cathy Lim!

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9 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

Well, that is interesting, thank you. That's nice of you to say, but you know what they say about comparison being the thief of joy. If Stephen King submitted something here, this group would probably rip him apart, so don't necessarily take this group's reaction as a reflection of the quality of your work.

I hear you. You're welcome! 

 

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