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Zay Wolfe

07-15-18 - zaywolfe - The King of Trash Island - chapter 2 (3580) LVG

10 posts in this topic

Content Warning: Violence, Language, Alcohol, and Gore

Alright guys here it is. I honestly hope you like it. I spent all week editing to get it ready and I can honestly say I no longer can tell if it's good or not lol.

I'm concerned about some of the phrasing I use and if you have any suggestions for alternative ways to word things I'd greatly appreciate it.

It takes a momentary dark turn here and one of the scenes in particular has been the toughest that I've ever written. After last week's feedback, I tried to take it all and apply it to this next chapter. I hope it shows.

Thanks again

Zaya

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In all this was a quick and easy read. Technically speaking, the main thing I noticed was A's metaphors need a little work. Right now they're just confusing. Is this the phrasing you're referring to?

The story A tells, while interesting, doesn't have a lot to do with the plot so far. I'm wondering what significance the box has, but that sort of slipped out of the plot for the moment. This wavers between a dystopian story taking place after events which are playing out today, and a cautionary tale specifically about events happening now. Calling them out in the plot starts to sound "preachy," and besides, events are changing far too fast at the moment. This story could be complete fantasy, or complete truth in six months. I think the world presented here is interesting, but I don't know if we need to know so many small details about how it got there. I'd rather see the story of the characters, unless that's not what you're going for. To sum up, I'm sort of confused where the plot is going.

I'd also like some more reaction from the main character to having his leg sutured without anesthetic (as far as I could tell)


Notes while reading:
pg 7: “All the way down. Hurry now, I’m hungry,” he said"
--I don't think this reads as you intended...

pg 7: "few bricks shy of a load to aim"
--this expression doesn't work here

pg 7: "how you can walk around without dragging your face on the ground"
--and this just doesn't even make sense.

pg 8: "“I’m sorry to say that the worst has yet to come."
--the worst IS yet to come...A needs to work on his sayings, or is this intentional?

pg 11: "I tried to let him focus in silence as he worked"
--would be good to see some more reaction as I assume he's in a lot of pain, I assume.

pg 11: "bullets were laid to rest"
--??

pg 11: "watched his body disintegrate into the light"
--if A was that close, he would have disintegrated too.

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@Mandamon Thanks for the comments and the list of lines that didn't click. Though I'm kind of partial to the "dragging the face" joke. It's because he's "got too little wit and too big a mouth", causing an imbalance of weight and making him drag his face on the ground. Idk haha. Maybe it seemed more obvious in the moment. Perhaps I can set it up more clearly.

"All the way down. Hurry now, I'm hungry." --Good catch. Taken out of context I can definitely see a problem here.

I originally had more describing his reactions and the act of the stitching, but I was worried it would be too tough to read and cut it. I remember one experience I had in school where a student was doing a presentation on a simple and pretty innocent procedure to fix carpel tunnel syndrome. The descriptions made a girl in the class collapse and fall on the floor, hitting her head pretty bad in the process. Because of that I guess I'm a bit gun shy with gore. So serious question, how much more descriptive do you think it I should take it without going too far? What kind of reactions from R. did you expect to see but didn't find?

 

 

 

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Looking forward to this :) 

"I raised my eyebrow"

I like how we get right into it where we left off, and there's tension from the start.

"I think it could give my place a nice fung-shway that it's lacking" - LOL. I think the spelling is 'Feng shui', but I think misspelling is a nice way of implying that T can't pronounce it.

I keep lapsing towards line edits, but it's only because I don't have any other issues. It flows really nicely.

"He ducked and I missed my target, though my weapon found a home in his forehead" - You say that m/c 'swung wildly'. That suggests to me that he didn't have a specific target, so how could he miss it? Also, when you say he missed his target, what was he aiming at? If he was swinging wildly, I presume his only hope was to hit W somewhere, which he does.

There are quite a few bits of phrasing here and there that throw me off. I think these bits could flow way better, but I don't want to drop into line editing at this stage, depending on your plans. What are you planning going forward? Are you taking the story to market? I'd be pleased to do a line edit of the complete piece as an alpha/beta read, once it's been through submission, if that is of any interest/help to you.

"A gun-shot sounded and shattered Wart's laughter back into his throat." - Suggestion: these two words slow down the sentence and put space between the shot and the reaction. To me ear, it's more immediate without them. Just a suggestion, obvs.

Great tension in the stand off with Ad. I like the simile of the pyramid of cards. I think the phrasing could be clearer, that you're alluding to the house of cards still standing, but being in danger of collapse, yes?

I think 'a readiness to kill'; grammar not quite right with 'ease'. Maybe 'willingness to kill'.

How can he fall into Ad's arms if Ad is still holding the gun? That's like one of those horrible scenes where the dumb-as victim knocks the rescuer's gun aside and the bad guy gets away/gets the drop on them.

"Hurry now, I’m hungry" - lol. Ad is a good character. They both are, but m/c is a bit 'blank'/standard protagonist. I don't get a good sense of who he is, yet.

I'm surprised m/c can take his jeans off and untie his shoes, given the condition of his leg. He should be feeling that stretching pretty badly, shouldn't he?

"a few bricks shy of a load to aim" - this is a bit tortuous.

"I don't know how you can walk around without dragging your face on the ground." - I don't understand his meaning here.

The bit in Ad's hideout with the gun sapped the tension for me, and the momentum. It feels shoe-horned in, a bit. It's not that I don't want the background, but it feels here like the focus comes off the wound, when the wound has been the focus. I think that's the point where the momentum falls away. For me personally, I'd prefer to see this background interspersed with Ad sewing up the wound. That would keep the tension/momentum up, while also importing the background/world-building (maybe pared down a little).

The 'storm coming' line is verging on cliché. That's a well used line. I'm not saying don't use it, but I am saying try and find an innovative way to deliver it, rather than low-hanging fruit of the direct approach.

Why does it matter that a handgun is safe, when the people it might have meant something to are dead? I'm not sure this lands for me. Also, I'm interested and invested in the main story, and I'm definitely VERY curious to know what is in the box that m/c found. All this background is distracting me from that, and it's feeling rather drawn out. It's good background, but I'd consider condensing it. I DO like that you are continuing the conversation during the sewing up of the wound. I think you could make those two things overlap completely, if you condensed the side story.

I didn't notice it snowing, but I like the description of the sleet battering on the roof; very atmospheric and moody. Nicely done.

Huh? I don't understand how one soldier's body can completely disintegrate due to the nuclear strike, but another one is still alive many years later, with no apparent ill effects. This makes no sense to me.

Walls don't stop radiation, surely. And the other soldier, B, was outside the walls then?

Pretty dramatic end to the chapter. I like that. A few irksome details, typos, etc., but I really enjoyed the chapter. I think you got away with the back story, and I wouldn't delete it, but a good edit would help keep it tight and therefore less of a drag of forward momentum. Everyone is entitled to a sequel to an action scene, I just hope that forward momentum will be resumed straight away in the next chapter, which I'm very keen to see.

Nice work :) 

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10 hours ago, Zay Wolfe said:

The descriptions made a girl in the class collapse and fall on the floor, hitting her head pretty bad in the process.

I think you can go a lot further in your descriptions, if you wish. On the other hand, you don't even have to do that. Mainly I want more reaction. You can have the main character gasp in pain as A does something to his leg. You can have him look away and clutch the arm of the chair in a death-grip. You can have him close his eyes so he doesn't have to see what accompanies the painful punctures in his leg. All these tell us what's happening, without being graphic.

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@RobinskiHmmm... you've given me a lot to think about. The thing is, is that the scene is pretty important for Adham's character arc in the later chapters. Though the action is definitely an important part of the story, the story I enjoy most is the development of the characters and their internal changes. If I may, can I explain some of the things I was trying to accomplish and get some feedback on how I could do it better? I don't want to defend myself, I just want to prod for some more of that tasty feedback :P

1: I put the background story in for two reasons. (a) To show A.'s starting point in the story mentally. He's broken through a hard life and bad experiences leading up to this point and has a need for companionship and offloading of his baggage. And (b), I was worried that I might upset Muslim readers if I have a Muslim alcoholic without clearly showing the reasons for him drinking. Do you think it can be condensed without breaking (a) and (b)?

2: I was hoping to actually deflate some of the tension with this scene. So I can lead up to the tension picking back up later which is a big, highly tense 2-3 scenes. Do you think I did it too much?

Believe it or not, but I actually cut out like 500 words from the A.'s story haha. Maybe I'm just getting jittery after already cutting so much.

And I'd be honoured if you line edited the final piece. I definitely want to try to shop this around since I really like the premise. If I can get the story beaten into shape the premise alone will be worth it.

BTW I'm working on your story. I had trouble opening the docx file and I just found a way to convert it to PDF so I can read it. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and install Office through wine.

@Mandamon

I see what you're getting at. Maybe if I just focus on R.'s reactions without showing the gruesome details it'll pack more of a punch. Kinda like how horror movies show the reaction to the monster instead of the monster for a better effect.

Edited by Zay Wolfe
grammar
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1 hour ago, Zay Wolfe said:

I don't want to defend myself, I just want to prod for some more of that tasty feedback :P

No problem. I would not call it 'defending'; I prefer clarifying :) 

1: No problem. My reaction to the scene, to some degree, is in isolation. I might react the same way to a scene by Jim Butcher or Jeff Noon (current reading), but I don't get to express my thoughts to them! You know a lot more than me, and so you get to overrule any reaction that I have. I sometimes think there's a bit of a trap in critiques and critiquing in that, in receiving a critique, there is a tendency to try and satisfy all the comments. Sometimes, perhaps, we are not so good at remembering we can set aside or politely decline any or all comments.

My strategy now, is to make a small change rather than a big one. Perhaps even the smallest change possible. So, if someone tells me there way too much description on a page (say), I'll maybe take one line out. That might be enough to have changed that person's reaction. I won't ever know that, of course, but next time a new reader comes to it, in a complete beta for example, I might just have tipped the balance enough that they are content with the level of description that remains, and I haven't decimated a page that I thought had merit when I wrote it. Maybe beta makes the same comment. So, maybe I take out another line, or half and line, and move on. I figure my story is going to be read at least five time before it gets anywhere near a publisher/editor/agent, and then it will be read again. There are lots of chances to refine a piece.

What does all this blather mean? If I was you, I would stick to your guns, maybe rephrase, maybe trim slightly, but by all means do not wade in with the scythe.

2: "Do you think it can be condensed without breaking (a) and (b)?" - Yes, and I'm not sure how much you even need to condense it. I think what I reacted to was more the tone/phrasing, the delivery, if you will. I almost thought A was a bit matter of fact in relating this difficult past, and that it lacked a bit of grit, feeling, emotion in the telling. Potentially, I guess that could make it longer, which I would caution against unless, by making the scene (a bit) longer, you are really punching up the emotional impact. I think maybe what I'm saying is I could not picture the events and their impact as clearly on an emotional level as I might have wanted. I don't want screeds about how A is feeling. I think it's more his choice of words, his phrasing, where I'd like to feel the impact more.

3: I would say it's not overflowing with tension. Did I complain about that? I mean the surgery going on is a bit tense, but A's story is in the past so, while it's dramatic, I'm not sure I would use the word tense. In other words, I don't think tension is a particular problem personally, and if I implied it was, I apologise :) 

12 hours ago, Zay Wolfe said:

And I'd be honoured if you line edited the final piece. I definitely want to try to shop this around since I really like the premise. If I can get the story beaten into shape the premise alone will be worth it.

Deal. And really, honour seems way too strong a word for me getting to exercise my pernickety gene :lol: 

12 hours ago, Zay Wolfe said:

BTW I'm working on your story. I had trouble opening the docx file and I just found a way to convert it to PDF so I can read it. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and install Office through wine.

Oh, listen, that's my bad. I become lazy about issuing .docx, when the the guidelines clearly call for PDF. At the very least, I should be issuing both. I will try and remember to do that.

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2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Potentially, I guess that could make it longer, which I would caution against unless, by making the scene (a bit) longer, you are really punching up the emotional impact. I think maybe what I'm saying is I could not picture the events and their impact as clearly on an emotional level as I might have wanted. I don't want screeds about how A is feeling. I think it's more his choice of words, his phrasing, where I'd like to feel the impact more.

That makes a lot of sense now. I think what happened is when I cut stuff I might of condensed it too much and stuck too much to the facts. Maybe it could use less facts and more experience. Thanks that helps a lot.

And thanks for the words on criticism; I'm not really used to getting it. I watched Sanderson's writing lectures and that's helped me prepare, but it's still unnerving for me. But, it's a been a real cool experience, overall.

Edited by Zay Wolfe
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Ah, we meet again, trash island!

General

It was an easy read, although the story info dump went a bit long, I felt like. I think it would have moved a bit quicker if A was actually stitching and so our protag had some pain or something to keep tension up. I remain concerned about the lack of any gender other than men in this world, and the Muslim comment needs work.

On 7/16/2018 at 0:23 PM, Mandamon said:

Calling them out in the plot starts to sound "preachy," and besides, events are changing far too fast at the moment. This story could be complete fantasy, or complete truth in six months. I think the world presented here is interesting, but I don't know if we need to know so many small details about how it got there. I'd rather see the story of the characters, unless that's not what you're going for. To sum up, I'm sort of confused where the plot is going.

yes, this. #iagreewithmandamon

On 7/17/2018 at 0:06 AM, Robinski said:

"I don't know how you can walk around without dragging your face on the ground." - I don't understand his meaning here.

I was also confused by this

On 7/17/2018 at 0:06 AM, Robinski said:

For me personally, I'd prefer to see this background interspersed with Ad sewing up the wound. That would keep the tension/momentum up, while also importing the background/world-building (maybe pared down a little).

It's like @Robinski and I share a brain!

 

As I go

- page two: it's feng shui

- page four: I think technically you can't take words back, either

- what in the heck is a 'good moderate muslim'? This needs expansion because it is... very concerning without context. Are Muslims not good or moderate by default (answer: yes, of course they are)?

 

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6 hours ago, kais said:

It's like @Robinski and I share a brain!

lol, when is it my turn? you've had it for about a year and a half... :lol: 

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