neongrey

08-29-16 - Waning, Ch. 2 (L, V)

18 posts in this topic

So this one's all new material if anyone's paying that much attention in that regard. At any rate, direct comparison to the old material is no longer particularly helpful. I'm rather more interested in how this stands on its own merits.

 
Thanks!
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We meet again, Savae.

Overall

I enjoyed the second half of this, in the workshop, much more than the carriage ride. The girl coming into the shop and her family dynamics  were engaging. The carriage ride started well enough, but dragged towards the end. 

I think your rewrite here is going well! Looking forward to the next round!

As I go

- page one: magic introduction works well

- page two: the integration of the coarser language works better earlier on in the book. It only startled me for the first line this time.

or his propensity for having his way with literally anyone capable of consenting - LOL

- page three - the level of backstory we're getting now, with earth and humans and such, is really helping my understanding of the world

- page four - the dialogue in the carriage goes a hint too long, I feel. It was hard to keep from wandering eyes at the end.

forced to gaze on their lumpy, imperfect human body - so now I have a bazillion questions on gender and species diversity. If I hadn't read this series before, my first thought would be along the lines of...wait, do the aelin not have breasts (because that's where 'lumpy' goes in my mind), or are we talking more crotch lump? Body fat would probably be my third question. Basically, I'd hang on this for a while.

- page 7: ooh, nice ending 

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2 hours ago, kaisa said:

I enjoyed the second half of this, in the workshop, much more than the carriage ride. The girl coming into the shop and her family dynamics  were engaging. The carriage ride started well enough, but dragged towards the end. 

Yeah, I definitely have some clunkiness concerns overall with this one, but it's sort of a case of 'hmm I'd rather see what shakes out without me leading a bunch of horses to water hmm this is a bad analogy'

2 hours ago, kaisa said:

I think your rewrite here is going well! Looking forward to the next round!

This one will of course involve the cannibalization of the original 2... so we'll see how that goes, but I'm overally fairly pleased with the old version there so it's mostly working in tense changes, detail changes, a shift to the direction of the big conversation... and, of course, a priestess with bells in her hair is rather more significant now.

2 hours ago, kaisa said:

- page two: the integration of the coarser language works better earlier on in the book. It only startled me for the first line this time.

And it should of course be jarring because that is quite literally what he wants, so that's fine.

2 hours ago, kaisa said:

or his propensity for having his way with literally anyone capable of consenting - LOL

Aserahin's fun. He's certainly got that part of government down~

2 hours ago, kaisa said:

forced to gaze on their lumpy, imperfect human body - so now I have a bazillion questions on gender and species diversity. If I hadn't read this series before, my first thought would be along the lines of...wait, do the aelin not have breasts (because that's where 'lumpy' goes in my mind), or are we talking more crotch lump? Body fat would probably be my third question. Basically, I'd hang on this for a while.

Lumpy would generally mean all over in this case; in part it's body fat, in part it's definitely less prominent things like breasts and butts (alas, poor sir mix-a-lot would not find much to enjoy here), but it's also about a physically unreasonable-to-acheive aesthetic ideal imposed from an outside source; 'lumpy' is perfectly deletable too if that's the primary sticking point. But if shuffling the surrounds or earlier bits will make it more workable, I do think it says something important about the aelin gaze that Savae is rather bitter about here. (Savae, who needs an architect, not a corsetier, to properly bind down, to call upon a line that will probably be discarded entirely)

In terms of things that will probably come up but that I just feel like expounding upon, one might suppose that when one is conquered by an empire that considers one's very bodies to be inherently flawed, this has some messed-up repercussions for that sociey's gender roles beyond that initial assignment. Savae's reasons for living among the aelin at all have rather a lot to do with being in the uncomfortable position of being able to choose which axis of marginalization they want to have emphasized.

2 hours ago, kaisa said:

- page 7: ooh, nice ending

I didn't initially want to be quite so overt, but there definitely was supposed to be an undercurrent that what happened was neither unintentional nor accidental, and I don't think it ever quite got through before. Now, well...

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14 minutes ago, neongrey said:

'lumpy' is perfectly deletable too if that's the primary sticking point

I don't think it's an issue at all. Just wanted to note that I did hang here. Not in a bad way, just in a daydreamy 'I'm trying to picture Savae' way and trying to figure out where said lumps are. I'm a breast person myself, so will trend towards that imagery unless told otherwise.

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They're probably the chestiest one of the entire cast (Iluya would be the biggest out of the aelin, followed by Maranthe, but if I ever get a big fandom and creepers start asking the answer simply becomes me making fart noises), to be sure, though they typically bind flat, which hasn't been mentioned... but is liable to come up quite shortly. So I guess the question is if you feel like a chapter plus a bit would be an unreasonable wait for this to get defined further, or if it's the sort of thing that needs to be laid out asap.

Edited by neongrey
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I don't think it needs to be defined right away. The moment you define binding, most readers will hang anyway. I'll hang, too, but mostly because I am terrible at the practice myself and can never manage to do it without cutting down on my ability to breathe effectively. Maybe I need an architect, too. Hah.

#toomuchinformationaboutkaisa

 

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Not the biggest fan myself, but I'm not a fan of much of anything that squishes the lumpy bits around ("but a really good one isn't supposed to be so bad" "they said that about spanx too" etc). But Savae is used to it, and Savae has much stronger objections to being read as definitively any gender at all than I do, so.

I guess the gist is that if the lumpiness isn't causing an urgent issue I'm content to leave it as-is with only some minor surrounding tweaks for the next pass because it's a valid source of bitterness and it's not something that's going to be left hanging.

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Savae is always enjoyable...

pg 2: "Unconventional he may be, but he's still aelin: he won't say outright what he can leave to implication"
--I like this.  Gives a good perspective of the aelin, and Savae's reaction to them.

Interesting hints of magic with the carriage.  I'm with Kaisa that this section gives us a lot of good hints into the worldbuilding.

I also agree that the conversation went on too long.  I had more of a problem with Varael's language--it bugged me the whole time, but that might also be because the section was too long.

pg 4: "It's their people that are dying, far more than the aelin."
--So where are all the other humans?  I don't think we've seen any others so far, correct? (in this or the last version)

I was starting to wonder where the part with Kathalania was going, right up until the last couple lines.  It's a good end to the chapter, but the part before it might be a little too dense to effectively get the pointacross.  If that's what you want, then it worked, but my attention was just about to wander before you got to the reveal.

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Definitely seems like this bit'll need some streamlining, but that's easy enough to deal with.

9 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 4: "It's their people that are dying, far more than the aelin."
--So where are all the other humans?  I don't think we've seen any others so far, correct? (in this or the last version)

Their largest city is Envariden, which is quite distant; Var Bandor was theirs too before the shudkathra took it, and there's probably still a substantive population there. Inedra (much closer to the border) might have more of a refugee population but Ilidria's human expat population would be quite small, with few if any refugees. Ilidria is ultimately both quite xenophobic and white-man's-burden-y. (in the end, art is never apolitical...)

So, primarily in their own country. Savae demands attention be paid, while living in a society that only cares performatively.

9 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I was starting to wonder where the part with Kathalania was going, right up until the last couple lines.  It's a good end to the chapter, but the part before it might be a little too dense to effectively get the pointacross.  If that's what you want, then it worked, but my attention was just about to wander before you got to the reveal.

Probably just more clunk. Fixable.

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This was an interesting chapter.  I like Savae, and I got a good sense of their struggle to live in a society that dislikes them so much.  The end of the chapter definitely caught my attention and made things much more exciting.

I agree with the others that the carriage ride was problematic.  For my part, I was getting so much new information about the world that I started to get fatigued by the end.  The scene with Kathalania worked better for me because there was more that was familiar and the new information came more slowly.

A few specifics:

They remove the book from the shelf and plant their feet hard against the floor. Good enough; the mountain is close.   This was confusing.  After re-reading the section several times, I think it has something do do with the magic.  At first I thought it meant that Savae had been floating before this sentence.

The Granite Sky has everything they need...  This paragraph was confusing because I wasn't sure if the "they" in the description was talking about Savae or the Granite Sky.  After re-reading it a few times I think I worked out which pronouns went with which, but maybe throw in a few names to clear it up?  Although I'm learning that I overuse names, so... :) I guess take this with a grain of salt.

Varael's too useful to Savae.  Interesting reversal to how I thought Savae viewed their relationship with Varael.

The sister's either Kathalania's own daughter then, or adopted.  Ah, bloodlines, pregnancy, adoption... so much room for so much great cultural conflict.

The end of the chapter made me very excited to read more!

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- I know comparisons to the old aren't particularly helpful, but I like that we go right to Savae in the second chapter. It seems to be the old narrative waited a while to get their perspective and it didn't work as well.

- I really liked Save's interaction with Varael. It just seemed to flow very well and made it really interesting to watch Savae's reactions and reasons.

- Wow, was not expected that last line . . . really, really curious to see where this is going. 

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Okay, yeah, looks like we're pretty much entirely in streamlining country here, which is a good place to be! Thanks~

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Sorry for the delay in responding. I enjoyed some of this chapter, but other parts left me cold. I feel that Ashana is one of if not the most active character in the story so far, so meeting him was refreshing in the face of everyone else's verbal machinations. His style is much more, direct.

The end of the chapter had a good impact for me, but I felt that things kind of rambled towards what was still an effective punch line, very effective.

Between these two sections, effectively the beginning and the end of the chapter, I felt that things meandered rather, and I found my attention wondering. I don’t have a problem with the focus of the story on political machinations, but it does mean that sometimes I'm in the mood for something with more direction action, at which times I feel like reading (or watching) something else.

If I'm in the right mood, I would enjoy this chapter more. Knowing what I know about the story that sits around this chapter, I reckon the information provided here would help the flow of the whole a good deal.

<R>

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Well, this is definitely a story about machinations rather than an action story-- I'm trying to avoid markers of both the heroic and epic subgenres, because this is solidly in the political/economic fantasy area. Which is not to say there's no violence, not at all-- it is a story about blood magic, after all-- but no character who drives the storyline is particularly eager to find themselves in an action scene. If I'm giving suggestions of those other subgenres, I do need to scrub them but I think in this case your preferences simply lie outside my subgenre.

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7 hours ago, neongrey said:

If I'm giving suggestions of those other subgenres, I do need to scrub them but I think in this case your preferences simply lie outside my subgenre.

My preference is for balance in all things. Clearly that doesn't mean I manage to achieve that balance in what I write, but in terms of what I read, I'm no more interested in flat out 'action' than I am in the absence of it. Action of course, does not mean conflict or violence, although those are (can be) a sub-set if it. 'Activity' and 'agency' are probably better words. I think that's the only thing that, for me, is sometimes lacking in the story, a sense of urgency at least for a short time to introduce variation in the pacing. There is a at least a heightening of tension in the scene with Ashana, and the new scene between Savae and Kath places the reader much closer to the act of the goddess' death which, is excellent, I just felt that there could have been more tension leading up to the revelation, is all.

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Well, that's more something I can work with. Thanks!

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The re-read continues.

  • Highly effective introduction to Sav and to Var. Okay, there’s a lot of water under the RE bridge in the last year in terms of subject of gender. Obviously, I have read Sav before, and there’s been discussion, learning curve by fire. All of this means that when I (re)encounter them, and the pronouns around them, I am much better placed to absorb that. No test for me here though, but in a fresh situation, I feel like I am so much better informed.

  • he won't say outright what he can leave to implication” – This feels at odds with his completely unsubtle display minutes ago. I really don’t think he was trying to imply anything to the debtor.

  • I don’t mind Var’s form of speech, but there are moments when it’s so thick it makes me cringe a bit.

  • Among other things. Back home there's property ownership requirements, and not insignificant ones.” – I’m not sure how to read this. It’s unclear to me. Back in Sav’s home? What’s that got to do with Var’s situation?

  • Envariden Senate decided a little barbarism can't be a bad thing” – It’s still a bad thing, I felt that it would be more effective to say something about it being tolerable, or preferable, or some such.

  • but if it actually has a chance of ending” – The war itself does not possess the chance of ending. I feel that ‘if there was a chance of it ending” would be more appropriate.

  • slouching so they can get at all comfortable” – phrasing a bit rough. Had to read it 3 times.

  • They pull out their pocketwatch, thumbing back the tarnished cover to check the time” – Lovely touch of detail.

  • They leave the door open behind them” – Do you mean unlocked? Otherwise, why would the bell ring later?

  • I was unhappy with the scene break between the girl arriving and Sav claiming the satchel. What purpose does it serve? It’s a change of location, it seems, but I can’t see that any time has passed, and the players in the scenes are the same.

  • but they're more interested in how the girl got there” – ‘here’, I think.

  • I feel a bit disconnected in the second half of Page 6, the phrasing seems circuitous, could be tightened up to make more satisfying reading.

  • this girl's family's” – awkward.

  • The bells starting to ring as the last line seems melodramatic to me. I like ‘I believe you did’ as the last line, I think it lands with much more impact. Also, I felt the run into this conclusion was stronger before, certainly shorter. The girl’s reason for going to the temple of Ali seems weak. She went because Ali’s priests ‘know stuff about stuff’? If she was having visions of the Moon, why not go straight to Sav?

What has brought me back to your story is the complexity of the characters, and that your show/tell ratio is like 9/1, very effective in getting character across, and better than before I think. In this chapter, all the characters come across well, although I think Kath’s background is a bit meandering. If humans are known for being direct, why doesn’t Sav just come out and ask the girl these questions, instead of going through all that internal conjecture?

<R>

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15 hours ago, Robinski said:

It’s still a bad thing, 

An interesting assumption, and not one Savae agrees with.

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

but they're more interested in how the girl got there” – ‘here’, I think.

Hmmm. No, definitely there.

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

The bells starting to ring as the last line seems melodramatic to me. I like ‘I believe you did’ as the last line, I think it lands with much more impact. Also, I felt the run into this conclusion was stronger before, certainly shorter.

It's a timing thing (this is actually all happening a few hours earlier than ch. 1), though yeah this part of the scene has issues and a lot of the early Savae stuff needs significant rework. I'm not very happy with any of it.

15 hours ago, Robinski said:

The girl’s reason for going to the temple of Ali seems weak. She went because Ali’s priests ‘know stuff about stuff’? If she was having visions of the Moon, why not go straight to Sav?

There's a number of reasons, most of which are not super pertinent to the story, why someone with gender issues would go to Alia's priests in specific, but in general she also has a religious preference for Alia (mentioned earlier on). As for not going to Savae, well, a sheltered teenage noble who's spent the past two years in (effectively) a convent for wayward girls is unlikely to be able to correctly evaluate much of anything as being connected to a foreign, not locally worshipped, until-recently heavily-suppressed religion or know the identify or location of the sole priest in a city of, uh, probably several hundred thousand people who's operating as a jeweler. So, I mean, that's the sort of consideration that isn't reasonable for any person in the scene to be making because there's no particular reason at all for anyone within to think Kathalania would know Savae exists and if she did what that would actually mean.

16 hours ago, Robinski said:

If humans are known for being direct, why doesn’t Sav just come out and ask the girl these questions, instead of going through all that internal conjecture?

They don't have a particular cause to insult her.

But all that said, yeah, there's a lot of issues around here. Thanks~

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