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Robinski

Robinski - Waifs and Strays - Submission 8 (LV) 2732 words

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To recap; Covelle and Dyllis broke into Ghintor’s office, Covelle was searching for details of his father’s shipments and, perhaps, his own. He finds some of his smuggled tobacco, which leads him to think Ghintor may be a thief. Ghintor and some of his men discover them and they try escape upstairs, blundering into a room of armed men who attack them. Covelle is injured and disoriented. The battle is joined between Ghintor and the men in the room, who Covelle discovers appear to be disguised kingsmen, like those at The Crowded Inn.

 

All comment gratefully received. Manny thanks for reading.

 

Best, Robinski

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Coming into this having missed a couple of chapters (will go back to them if I have time later), it seems like the pace has picked up. There are clear conflicts in the offing, and the gradual revelation of the politics and schemes behind them. I'm intrigued by what's going on.

 

It feels like you've got a better handle on how to pace the writing in action scenes, and that clips along fairly well.

 

I liked Dyllis's smart use of a fire to get them out of the situation, using her powers but also some situational smarts so that the magic didn't become an easy copout (writing-wise rather than for the character) to resolve the situation.

 

I wasn't clear on why the long hair comment was a step too far.

 

There were places where this seemed rushed, sentences running into each other that should have been separate, occasional grammatical messes. I have faith in your ability to catch all of that when you edit, but it was a real hindrance to getting a feel for how well the story flows. 

 

Hope that helps.

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I'm going to echo Andy in that this seems more rushed than your normal work. More typos, more short/simple sentences than usual - but that's not a huge point. I'll also agree with him on the pacing, which was very good and had me reading pretty fast.

 

I don't have a lot of specifics - seeing as I read half of this as a printout on a bus while listening to loud music - so in this case count me as the  type of person who will actually be reading your book on a bus after you've published it, rather than sitting at a computer taking notes. Sorry about that, but it's one of those weeks at the office.  :-P

 

SOOOO...

 

Now we have the big "A-HA!" moment with Dyllis. Excellent job with that. It does explain her timidity, and if you've done this right her timid behavior will throw us off the path but there will be red-flags that we won't catch until later. I haven't gone back and re-read it, so I don't know if there are. Obviously you had me faked out for several weeks complaining that she was too timid for someone with such power - and now I'm debating whether that works for me. On the one hand, it makes a lot more sense as a facade, on the other hand it still doesn't quite work for me. If I were to try to reverse engineer it myself, knowing what I know now, I'd consider making her a bit more of a needy damsel in distress - or have her make some other moves that we as readers would later recognize as conscious attempts at manipulation.

 

Just thoughts - I like her being timid - but maybe a bit more "actively timid". Not sure.

 

Anywho - I like that she's an empath. If you've never read Azimov's "Foundation" Trilogy, they deal a LOT with an empath who has the ability to emotionally re-program people in the second book "Foundation and Empire". That character spends half of the book faking out both the other characters and the audience a la Dyllis, and the "A HA!" moment is absolutely tremendous. (It also makes total sense when you go back and piece together his otherwise nonsensical actions). So you have a huge opportunity here, and I hope on revision you spend some time carefully laying the trail of crumbs that makes the reader think they should have picked up on this earlier.

 

As for the actual reveal of her plan and the nature of Sphere - I did think it was a little maid-and-butler - the dialogue read a little bit like an encyclopedia entry, so on revision I think you should go back and think about all of this information in terms of how Dyllis sees it and how it affects her, not how you would describe it as an author. You already have a start in that direction, as the dialogue on your last page is really good Dyllis is shorter, more defensive, the conversation is more stunted and awkward. I feel like that's how the whole conversation should be, because both participants are nervous and thinking about how much they want to say.

 

Apologies if this is more stream-of-conciousness than usual - but hopefully this is helpful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Edited by CommandanteLemming
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Also I think you need to establish the exact cost of fire in your magic system. I can go with the hair and fingernails - but I would think that massive room-engulfing fireballs take more fuel than the doorknob trick - yet neither hurt Dyllis and she still doesn't seem to need more than a few stands of hair. 

 

I don't know if you've done this yet - but I would consider actually making yourself a spreadsheet of how much catalyst is required for certain magical acts. That way you have a desk-reference that tells you how Dyllis is going to behave when she needs to collect fuel from herself. It may also tell you that in certain situations, she's not going to have time to get enough, and that's when she gets hurt. 

Edited by CommandanteLemming
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I agree with Lemming here.  He says the same thing I was trying to get across on WaD about how you faked out your readers too much on Dyllis (though he says it better.)

 

More bread crumbs would be appreciated before the reveal.

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@Andy: thank you for your comments, it's interesting to get a perspective with a gap in it, as it were, I'm glad to hear your comments about pacing. Also about Dyllis and the 'escape' from Ghintor's office.

 

I have modified Covelle's reaction to / thoughts about the long hair comment, which I accept don't ring quite right. The WaD* people thought that Covelle was more entitled to be angry than Dyllis because of her intentions towards his father, althought what I've stressed in editing for the comments so far is that there is no reason for him to feel loyalty towards his family.

 

I hear what you say about the grammar. I'd like to think that too! I wasn't conscious of rushing, but what I would say is that my previous submissions to RE have usually been through a couple of edit's, whereas Waifs and Strays is lucky if it sees one.

 

Thank you again for your comments.

 

 

*Write About Dragons

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@Lemming: Ha ha, thank you - I will accept bus readers gladly. What loud music were you listening to? I ask as a fan of loud music.

 

Your comments about Dyllis are very helpful. I'm glad this seemed to work for you, largely, and agree that checking and consolidating foreshadowing in the edit will be important. I read foundation (big reveal) about 30 years ago (yikes!) - so you can assume I've forgotten most of it.

 

I accept the maid-and-butler point about Sphere, must say I felt a bit that way after I had written it, but it was Sunday night (guilty as charged).

 

I hear what you say about the cost of the magic. There is certainly a scale, but obviously I haven't been rolling out the magic all that quickly. There is a dramatic instance coming, but it could be a couple of chapter away, maybe three, so I'll need to think about your point carefully. It's not the first time it's been made, so I can see that it's important. I do have a matrix in a spreadsheet!! It's about 8 x 8, which should tell you how much is there behind what you've seen to date - tips and icebergs, etc., but the cost / hurt thing is something I need to review and explain more.

 

Very helpful comments, thank you CL - you should take W&S on the bus more often! :-)

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More bread crumbs would be appreciated before the reveal.

 

Okay, okay - I hear you. You don't have my Twitter and Facebook too, do you? ;-)

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Okay, okay - I hear you. You don't have my Twitter and Facebook too, do you? ;-)

 

...That you know of. ;-)

Edited by Mandamon
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Lol I think I was listening to this on loop:

Country-western probably isn't great W&S mood music, but I always use musical qeues to get myself in writing headspace and I was planning on writing when I got home - and that's a song I assigned as part of a character's inner monologue.

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Either that or this

That's the "Millenial Reign" theme song - I'be decided that's it's an HBO Series that I watch in my head - it has a theme sequence, soundtrack, and episodic story arcs. That might be overly grandiose but if it helps get stuff on the page I'll indulge it.

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I'll check out Live Like A Warrior on iTunes or Spotify, I'm not allowed to listens to it via this site apparently. Running Out of Moonlight I have heard before, great tune, although country's not really my thing, I'm a metal-head, but with broad tastes. Anything from Nine Inch Nails to Rachamninov and many points in between. The great Johnny Cash squared that particular circle when he covered NiN's 'Wish' of course - it's a funny old world!

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