Mandamon

20150126 - Fruits of the Gods Ch6 pt1 (2559) - Mandamon

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Hi all,
Chapter6, part 1:  Kisare and Belili find out the villagers plans, and learn more about life with the Asha-Urmana.  Let me know what you think!

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Anagmeshu-Ea was still clutching the box, and hastily returned to his seat with it.

I feel like Belili would be more likely to think first of the what the man looked like before thinking of his name, especially seeing as how they've just now met.  As a reader I'm having trouble connecting the council's names with the characters they represent.  It seems odd to me that Belili would pick up on them so quickly, especially when they're as complicated/unfamiliar as Anagmeshu-Ea is.  

 

Hbelu turned back to Belili.  "Then I accept your conditions for now."

Kisa cocked her head, catching the same unsaid words Belili heard.  "For now?"

This part confuses me a little bit.  On my first read through I took it as "For now" being the words unsaid, which isn't true.  Upon rereading I understood what was going on better, but I still don't think I understand what the unsaid words were.  Should I be able to guess what they are?

 

Neither one of them were happy at that.  But even free blonds could only push so far before getting punished.  Nobles or not, these Asha-Urmana had more in common with the other magic folk than with blonds.

I like how this and the part where Hbelu proposes taking the whole set of seeds from the sisters.  I feel like it makes the purple-haired folk more interesting and not at all noble.  I was surprised when Hbelu made his first offer as I did not think he would try to exploit them, as it seems he did.  (He could of course just have been truly undervaluing the seeds, but that's less interesting to my mind.)  By making the Asha-Urmana a little suspicious you create tension in the story.

 

Hbelu saved Kisa a prize cut, though Kisa didn't notice.

I also like this.  I enjoy how you're showing a different interpretation of Hbelu than when Kisa described him.  Kisa I believe said that Hbelu was interested in Belili for her looks, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.  

 

Overall I liked this chapter.  I think you did a good job of characterizing the elders and an even better job showing the split between Kisa and Belili's perspective.  You were correct when you said that their personalities become more defined later.  I will note that while the Asha-Urmana making Kisa and Belili work to pay off their Fruit debt helps to make the troop more interesting, it also takes some of the drive out of the story.  As a reader I was excited to see the sisters move into the wider world, maybe see the large city that was mentioned in a prior chapter, be exposed to larger goings on, etc.  Them being stuck working for 3 months takes some of the movement out of the story.  I expect that events will occur soon that disrupt the work / make the work interesting, but as of finishing the chapter, those were my thoughts.

 

I'm kind of bad about picking out word-smithing details, but hopefully one of the other RE members can critique soon and offer suggestions there.  For me stories are usually in three groups.  One where the writing is an obstacle before immersion.  A second where the writing is competent and lets me sink into the story and just read.  And a third where the prose stands out above the story and can delight in its own ways.  As long as a story is not in the first category, and yours is definitely not, then I tend to just read straight through and think about what I thought afterward.  

Edited by Sprouts
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Thanks Sprouts!

Any and all critique are welcome, so I don't mind if you nitpick on words some.  I do some editing as I write, so this gives me a chance to make those corrections before I forget about them.  The "For now" phrase was also picked up on by a certain Captain of Pedantry who shall remain nameless ;-)

 

The names are a little tricky, and you have a good point on going by description.  You could make the argument that these people would be more familiar with their type of strange names, but that might be splitting hairs.
 

Glad you are seeing the difference in personalities.  That's one of the most fun parts to write.  

You have a good point that them working for 3 months would slow down the story ;-).  Aaaaand I'll just leave that there.

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Hi Mandamon. I thought this was a good chapter and solid overall. I'll add a few nit-picky things to what Sprouts said.

Even the little elder standing beside Kisa was blinking through his magnifying lenses. The old girl

This line sounds off to me. Perhaps get rid of 'Even' and do something like "The little elder standing beside Kisa appeared surprised by the comments. Apparently Ku-Baba ... This is just off the cuff, so not sure.

This was before those of magical hair colors existed, so the story goes, and the gods thought their creation a failure. It is said Dumzi came up with the concept of a magical people to use their magical Fruit. Sometime later, they created a second set of trees, in seed form. Some stories say


These in red basically all say the same thing. I would either remove them, or say it one time at the beginning i.e. "The old tales tell us that before those..."

by the other branch


I like the idea of what you are trying to do with this, but it is a tiny bit confusing or not quite smithed right. I don't have a quick answer. I think a few simple phrases like this might be useful if worked in from the beginning of the book (maybe you did I don't remember it being used, or at least not often enough that I remember). Just don't overuse as I imagine it is like writing accents where it puts people off.

Belili knew her sister thought she was flighty,

This might be a better place for using a gardening phrase. i.e. Belili knew her sister thought she was a loose leaf (or a loose leaf in the wind)

That scar was physical It was something she could rub when it itched.

I'd just leave it "At least that scar was physical"

Then you would owe us an even greater debt, which is the main purpose of our meeting here." Hbelu spared a look for the elders. Anagmeshu-Ea was still clutching the box, and hastily returned to his seat with it.


My first impression here, is that give the gravity of the situation (the potential loss of their own magic) Hbelu would first look at the other elders since this would affect all of them (unless he is the ultimate ruler).

Belili watched it carefully, how he curled around it, but he seemed interested only in observing the seeds, not in its worth.


I think this needs some slight reworking. For one 'not its worth' is unlikely something she could determine from his looks. She might, however, notice that he 'gazed it with a sense of wonder' or something like that.

You will have the use of a house here, and eat meals with the rest of the troop." Hbelu stared back at Kisa, as if the rest of the world didn't exist.

I see what you are doing here (establishing Hbelu's interest) but "as if the rest of the world didn't exist." doesn't work here (and might be a little cliche). Hbelu could seem 'overly interested' in Kisa's response perhaps. In any case Belil would notice his outward expression i.e. he gazed too intently, or his eyes drfted down, or he seemed flustered or spoke to fast which told Belil that there was something else at work here. Hope that helps clarify.


Belili kept the grumble out of her voice as she said


Show this instead. i.e. "Belili hesitated, her displeasure obvious, but said" something like that.

showing no sign of seeing their anger

Perhaps '...showing no sign he was aware of their...'

they ate greens and fruit, and meat

'...they ate greens, fruit, and the meat of...'


Hbelu saved Kisa a prize cut, though Kisa didn't notice.


Belili watched as Hbelu ... I think and '...Kisa didn't seem to notice..'

Kisa harrumphed

I like the word, but perhaps 'grumbled' would fit here.

Anyway as I said, just nit picking stuff. Hope you find it useful. Good job.

Edited by stormweasel
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Stormweasel, thanks for the review.

Good suggestions throughout.  I like your suggestion of "loose leaf," I'll try to work that in.  I've also felt "by the other branch" was a little clunky, but I'm not sure what to change it to.  I'll work on it.

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Between Robinski and Stormweasel, I feel they'll have you covered on the micro word-smithing. I only noted two parts that seemed far enough off to bring into this post.

"He didn't want the seeds, after all. Or not just the seeds."
I had to read that two or three times and then it wasn't until a bit later I understood Belili's implications. If I'm the only one was a bit slow on this, then I'd advise disregarding this comment, but I feel like being a bit more straightforward, or just possibly adjusting the wording, might help that particular line, and the line stormweasel commented on later, since it seems like Hbelu is being hinted at possibly having some attraction towards Kisare.

"Sneaky of him. They would become dependent on the troop."
I haven't felt that Belili was slow or naive, per say, but this felt a lot more like a Kisare line since Belili has been rather reasonable in acknowledging how the Asha-Urmana have been helping them so far, and I feel like Belili would hold a higher opinion of them, even if her sister doesn't.

There were a few other areas, where I feel like some general word-smithing would clean up Chapter 6, part 1 a bit, but that's already been covered for the most apart by the other kind folks here.

Overall, I'm wondering what, if any romance involvement will spring up, since it seems implied that Hbelu may be interested in/attracted to Kisare, and just because Belili refers to him as the prince, I'm not entirely sure if it's a 'Prince Charming' or like 'Prince' royalty due to his apparent position. I don't believe I've heard much in the way of a monarchy for the Nobles/Newcomers. Chieftain, king, or some other title (maybe 'lord', I don't know *twiddles thumbs*) would work in that role. Not sure if it's intentional, but it kind of seems like a potential love triangle that's likely going to wedge more distance between the sisters (more so than the growing difference in their opinions). I could very well be entirely wrong. It's too early to say for certain.

I don't recall if they mentioned it anywhere to Hbelu before, but their talent for pruning and tending to Fruit trees and crops in general is going to come in handy again. This is more of errant thinking, but either tending to crops is super common (which with Fruits and fruits being things, and a poor harvest, I could see that justification) or it was a lucky coincidence. I say that because there a number of jobs that don't particularly require and difficult skill sets, and the sisters just so happen to end up doing something they're definitely good at. Basically, I either see this ending up a situation where Hbelu has extra information or the sisters are going to surprise him and the others with their skills and it was just a fluke that's going to work in everyone's favor. Not positive or negative, just thoughts that popped up.

Also, I've said it before, and it's still true, I love the way you've captured the relationship between the sisters, despite Kisare being the 'leader' there's still a good balance of Belili feeling like an older sister in a way that doesn't conflict with Kisare being the leader.

I wouldn't say it's going into a negative direction yet, as you're keeping Aricaba in our minds, but aside from the three months thing, it feels like some kind of conflict will have to pop up, I'd guess in chapter 7, since chapter 6 is kind of feeling like a breather chapter. (Also is it Aricaba-Ata, or just Aricaba, I feel like I've seen both, but without going back and checking, I'm guessing it's another 'voice' aspect between the two sisters and "-Ata" is a title of some sort?) (And I actually remembered Aricaba and the spelling from the top of my head this time.)

That's all that's really crossing my mind for now. Good work as usual overall.

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I fear I've 'stolen' the credit for Sprouts comments - do I get a 'rep' for that?

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If you mean in my comment, it just sounds like you're providing feedback to Mandamon in another writing group. And I'm just assuming it involved solid information, considering it's from the impressive individual who keeps up with every release here.

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(free rep for Robinski for the great comments in the other group...)

Robinski's one week ahead of you all here, but it's great that you pick up the same things--even the same sentences--a lot.

 

 

Juugatsu:  I think some of the developing relationships here are a little shaky, especially with things that happen later in the story.  I'll probably have to wordsmith this section a bit to bring it in line.  Thanks for the catches.

"Prince" is a status label, but I think I might have sort of dropped it later on, so that might not make the final cut.  Maybe "Lord" is a better alternative ;-).

I'm glad you mentioned the pruning skills.  That's a promise I need to make sure I follow up on toward the end of the book.

Don't worry about Aricaba-Ata (Ata is the personal name, btw, and Aricaba is the family name).  He will pop up in the first sentence of the next submission!

 

Thanks again!

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(free rep for Robinski for the great comments in the other group...)

Yay!!

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