Mandamon

20150119 - Fruits of the Gods Ch5 pt2 (2266) - Mandamon

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Part 2 of chapter 5, in which Kisare and Belili find out more about the Asha-Urmana, and the box.
Let me know what you think!

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Wow, this was a solid second half of a chapter, with a great ending.  Hooked me about as well as is possible.  It was pretty short, and good, so I don't have too much to say.  I'll just go through a couple of small things I noticed.

 

 It was warm, warmer than outside, even with no fire going.  Was there another way to heat that she couldn't see?

A good piece of worldbuilding, and another hint that the natives are actually quite advanced.  However, how would she know if it was warmer than outside if she had just woken up?

 

"Do your own leave too?  The ones born with no purple?"  If this is so much better than slavery, what makes the blonds run away?

I liked this section quite a bit.  Carries a good amount of weight and shows leads into gaps in understanding of the world for Bel and Kisa.
 

"Odd.  The savages have better plumbing than the Aricaba plantation," Bel noted.  Kisare raised an eyebrow, but she had to agree.

I found this a little awkward.  Bel's line reads more like something she would have thought internally, but not said aloud.  At least, I had to read it twice.  This may be because I missed who was talking the first time and got a bit jumbled.  

 

I won't quote the ending here, as it was very effective, and I didn't really see anything wrong with it on my first read through.

I will note though, looking back, that it is a little odd that the purple-haired people don't react with more shock/emotion when they discover otherwise unknown seeds in a box marked by the gods.  Definitely a small thing that would likely not be a thing at all if I had the next chapter right in front of me.

 

Short submission, but very solid.  I'm happy that parts of what seem to be the larger plot are starting to come into focus now.

Edited by Sprouts
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I thought this was a solid piece of writing. The story is interesting enough to keep me reading.

 

A few minor points (nit picky in some cases).

 

 

bouncing across polished surfaces around the room

Why not use this as an opportunity to describe the room a bit? Ie the sun bounced off a beautifully ornate dresser, its wooden surface polished to a gem like luster. It is a new setting.

 

 

colorless dress

 

 Instead of colorless what about drab? Hard to visual 'colorless'

 

 

All were dressed in stitched leather clothes like Hbelu,

 

You use Hbelu's name a lot in this paragraph and it might be more natural to note that all wore similar clothing, rather than comparing to Hbelu ie. all were dressed in similar [coarse, finely stitched, colorful or other descriptor] leather clothing’

 

 

Hbelu had traded his wet clothes for clean ones while they slept.  Kisare noted his hair was combed and oiled.  

 

 Even though it may be obvious that it he must have traded his wet for dry clothes it might be better to say ‘ Hbelu was freshly dressed, his hair etc’ Not sure why but feels better.

 

 

made from trained vines, grown in the desired shape

 

another area that might bear a tiny bit more description. I can imagine what the 'desired shape' may be but it is a new setting and a tiny bit more detail might be useful if these vine chairs haven't been described elsewhere.

 

 

Kisare met her sisters eyes, both of them still standing

 

A little awkward. '...her sisters eyes, both of them...' could almost refer to the eyes.

 

 

There were three men among the elders, counting Hbelu--much younger than the other two--and four old women.  None of the elders looked frail.

 

This is also a little awkward sentence and needs to be revised. Try reading it out loud.

 

 

Odd. The savages have better ...

 

Here response seems odd. It might be better something like "Odd. It seems these ‘savages’ have

 

 

The other male elder snorted.  Where the first was prone to extra fat, this one was almost birdlike, in both movements and build.

 

Is there another sound that might be better for a man with aird-like build? Definition of snort "an explosive sound made by the sudden forcing of breath through one's nose, used to express indignation, derision, or incredulity." So would seem better for a big person but you could also say something like 'snorted, a sound out of proportion to his small birdlike body'

 

 

He hadn't seen the box until later

 confusing

 

 

older sister being treated as mere flesh

 

as a mere plaything perhaps?

 

 

 

There was nothing they could do to resist them, but the Asha-Urmana could also have taken their prize from them at any point

 

 hmmm... needs to be refined, something throws me off.

 

 

But Bel was still gripping the box frowning

 

Might be better 'uncertainly' instead of frowning, or 'possesively.'

 

All in all a good write and an interesting story. :)

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Thanks for the feedback!  

Both of you and Robinski all commented on the "savages" line, so I definitely need to change it.  I meant it ironically, but I guess need 'savages' in quotes or italics.  I might just rephrase the sentence entirely.

 

@Stormweasel: You actually picked up on many of the exact sentences Robinski did (in a different writing group).  Interesting, and good feedback.  Comparing clothes was a good catch.  I can expand that a little to show they all wear similar clothing.

 

@Sprouts: Good catches.  On the weather/warmth, I think I meant she was comparing to general ambient temp that time of year.  I can clarify.  I think you're correct that no one shows enough emotion when seeing the box/seeds the first time.  I feel like the "old forgotten story" is a little abrupt, so putting some more wonder in there might help connect it.

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I finally got the chance to go through chapter 5. There were a few nit-picky comments I'd be more likely to make if this was in Google docs or something similar (In another writing group, we use it for micro-scale, then use the main group page for macro comments overall). Some of the micro comments I would've made seem to have been made already by others, regarding awkward phrases here or there. As far as I generally understand, awkward phrasing is my main hurtle in writing, so recently I've started doing the whole 'read it aloud' thing, and in doing so, I found myself stumbling over a small, but relevant, amount of my sentences that I previously had no issue reading internally. I don't know if you do that, or would be interested in doing that, but it might catch some of the things people mentioned above.

Something minor that just stood out a bit for me, was during their arrival to the Hbelu's village, it said several hours had passed since  dawn's break. I can imagine Hbelu traveled slower with two injured companions and a deer over his shoulder, but how early did that guy leave to get to the spot where he first met Kisare and Belili? Minor point, but it stood out to me, and either the days are long, he travels insanely quickly through the woods unhindered, or he took a very roundabout path back to his village (which would make sense). However, as Kisare stated, without markers of some form being able to navigate a roundabout path in woods is either quite the statement about Hbelu's familiarity with the woods or that an unmentioned something was aiding him.

I didn't feel like I had a solid image of the building they slept in. The image in my head was effectively a large open area, without a whole lot present in it. Stormweasel also mentions the detail aspect, but while I'm commenting that I had some trouble imagining it, I did note a few areas were kind of a jarring block of description all of a sudden. So I feel the descriptions could possibly be blended a bit smoother.

Not particularly good or bad, so much as just neutral observations. I can't tell if there's necessarily...unreliable narrator? I definitely get the feel of being behind Kisare's viewpoint in this chapter (which is good). I say uncertain unreliable narrator because we get a description of what seems like glasses, if not a special pair of magnifying glass, but I got the impression that the Aricaba plantation (How easy do you find it tracking all of the names?) would have at least has some semblance of carpentry, particularly since they had metalworking for chains, weapons, and what not. So the idea of shaped wood, makes me think of like, twigs and branches grown into a specific shape, rather than something crafted and cut. However I was also wondering it was possible that it was something all together different that Kisare was just too unfamiliar with, but I, as a modern day reader, would understand and just didn't make whatever connection.

Additional, story (rather than writing) thoughts that arose. We're hearing the side of Asha-Urmana. What we readers previously viewed as just normal people are now being classified as newcomers. This sort of ties into one of the short paragraph above where I mentioned you did a good job of getting me interested in the Asha-Urmana people, but I wonder if later in the story we might get a different perspective of normal/newcomer society, maybe one to try and justify what they did in the past, and probably with an evil image of the Asha-Urmana people. We're talking thousands of years, and the mention of a massacre, despite trying to help, makes me a bit suspicious that cultural clashing occurred and I could definitely see the idea of the 'newcomers' seeing a form necromancy and thinking it's evil. That, or maybe Asha-Urmana's history isn't as true to the story as we might currently think.

To sort of route that into a positive note, all in all I like the reveal of the world-building (possible plot elements/foreshadowing). In general, since the beginning of the story (back in chapter 1), I feel like the flow and release of information has been very well handled. The PoV control is definitely starting to feel more natural as well, though I can't really tell if it's the amount of exposure and noticing of the little tricks (Kisare's PoV uses Bel, and Belili's PoV uses Kisa) or if you just found the groove for it, but I'm not finding myself stumbling on who is doing what.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. The introduction of 'new seeds' feels kind of out of nowhere for me and a little melodramatic. Like I was hearing 'dun-dun-DUNNNNNNNNN' in my head. It just felt a little cliche or dry in terms of delivery, for me. The implications of where the story will lead, and the scale at which the story sounds like it will head was good however. I get the sense that Kisare and Belili are going to be learning and experiencing a lot of things from a lot of viewpoints, but that's partially due to a suspicion that the Asha-Urmana aren't going to be entirely good people and that the newcomers aren't going to entirely be bad people as the current setup is sort of lending to.

Cheers to the next submission.

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Thanks Juugatsu--great observations.  I'm glad someone finally commented on Kisare and Belili using nicknames for each other.  That was part of trying to separate the POVs to give the reader a clue as to who's doing what.

 

Great comments on everything, really.  This helps me set figure out what promises I'm making to the reader, and since I'm now writing the end of the book, it will help me make sure I try everything together.  Especially your thoughts on how the Asha-Urmana and the Nobles view each other.  There was another comment on that as well, so I need to make sure I follow through.

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Alright, I'm excited for this! here we go...

 

Not a lot to say so far, its interesting, and keeps a good pace.

 

Savage plumbing; I think this would make more sense if she muttered it to her sister as a joke. idk, it just seems that if you were standing before a council that will decide your fate, you wouldn't make a sarcastic comment about their plumbing, even if it was positive one. 

Ahh, I see others got this too

 

When the elders ask "Ishkun-Dim-Hbelu must have special interest in you to bring you here.  He has not done this before. Was it the box you carry that interested him?", there is a bunch of thought going on in the girls head, and way later there is "Hbelu was steadfastly looking at the box.  "Of course," he said, a little too fast.". Not a huge deal, but it definitely didn't come off as 'a little too fast' when read. Maybe move his too quick response up to be right after the question.

 

"These also have the marks of the gods on them, as all Fruit tree seeds do." maybe its just me but this came off as telling instead of showing. Maybe "There's nothing special about them, marked by the gods just like all the others." but I don't know, it may just be me
 
ahh, so there is something special about them! 
 
Alright, I liked this a lot! Same as all the earlier chapters, this one is well paced and interesting throughout! 
 
Wow, I didn't know you were so close to finishing this! Well I don't know how to give any truly useful critiques on a book-wide scale, but the set up in these first few chapters is wonderful. There was already so much potential in the magic system with the initial seeds and hair colors, and now you've doubled it with the new seeds!  I would definitely buy "Fruits of the gods" based on what I've seen
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Thanks Lerroy!

  I'll post as much as I can here, but Reading Excuses is a hard format to submit an entire book.  Once I finish it and get through edits, I'll post it somewhere so people can read the rest.  I do want to do a couple more chapters because there's a turning point I want people to comment on.

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