Robinski

Robinski - 180911 - AK Dead Horse - Part 11 - 3249 words (LVGA)

16 posts in this topic

Finally getting this out after a difficult week, writing-wise.

The first 2/3rds got a bit of an edit, but the last bit is fresh onto the page, so perhaps rougher! 

Anyway, by way of update, the burglary has somewhat gone south with Ch becoming Lord P's quarry. He sends J to find her, but J rebels against the instruction and sets fire to the manor as a distraction to his pursuers. He finds Ch and they argue (somewhat, updated since previous submission!). By that time the building is engulfed in fire, and getting out is the main order of business. J and Ch exit, but Lord P's retainers are waiting for them. At the end of the last submission, J is climbing down a drainpipe when Ch leaps from an upper floor window.

L is for a swear here and there; V for some sword swinging and physical blows; G is for burning and wounding of people, but also for an animal issue, which is why there is an 'A' also. To animal lovers (looking at you in particular, SC), I apologise. Nature is a mother. I blame Richard Adams and the rough awakening I got when I read Watership Down at a young age.

All the usual stuff. Any comments hugely appreciated.

Best, Robinski

p.s. I reckon this is the penultimate submission, for what that's worth.

Edited by Robinski
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This was a quick read. I noted a few technical issues as I was reading. Most of my other issues stem from confusion, and it might be due to WRS. Where does the army of magic users come from? From the context, it seems like they're C's people, but I don't think that's right. Are they with the king? Who is the king with? I think we may need some more background earlier in the story.

On that note, we finally come to the title (which I've been wondering about the whole time), but it's not resonating with me yet, because we don't know what horse marrow does. If it's something so spectacular as to bring down a wizard with unlimited power, I would think everyone would be using horse marrow. I mean, they're not that hard to breed. Again, I think we need more context about the magic system earlier, as it's becoming the defining moment of this novella.

Notes while reading:

pg 108: "Ten feet to go, I twisted my head again."
--A bit unclear. I think he's looking down from climbing the wall, but it took me a couple reads to get it.

pg 108: "taught muscles" -> taut muscles

pg 109: "but I decided P's words had only beguiled me for an instant,"
--Not sure what this means.

pg 110: "first brocaded footman who to dart in"
--missing word

pg 110: "Everyone picked themselves up as Lord P strode onto the terrace with a dozen soldiers around him, not servants and foresters, these were blue coats, the king’s men."
--run on sentence.

pg 114: "C seemed out of ingots."
--what are these ingots?

 

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Many, many thanks for your comments, @Mandamon. Don't know how you manage it so promptly every week, but I'm very grateful :) 

To business...

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Where does the army of magic users come from? From the context, it seems like they're C's people, but I don't think that's right. Are they with the king? Who is the king with? I think we may need some more background earlier in the story.

Yes, this is just insufficiently foreshadowed because I only knew I needed things to get worse at that point, and that was the solution. These are Lord P's current crop of trainees/fodder. There is the kernel of the idea early on in that, in the journal, the names that are not scored out are still alive, and there is half a page or so of such names. I need to call out better at the time and have J noticing and wondering if these are still alive and where they might be. I've gone back and added a couple of lines, but this is very much my m/o to make stuff up on the hoof and have to do another pass. This will lead to reader disorientation! Apologies for that.

 

Agreed, and that needs to be trailed much earlier, of course. I will mull upon and do that, but I suspect it will only come out of me finishing the next section.

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

If it's something so spectacular as to bring down a wizard with unlimited power, I would think everyone would be using horse marrow. I mean, they're not that hard to breed.

True, and I think that points to it not being hugely powerful, but J being able to use it in a very specific way to affect P's end, but not necessarily spectacular in a magical sense. That does not mean that the end can't be spectacular, of course, or certainly dramatic :D 

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Again, I think we need more context about the magic system earlier, as it's becoming the defining moment of this novella.

Yes, that's part of the heavy-lifting in the first edit. This first pass has taught me a good deal about the system and what doesn't work so well, I think.

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 108: "Ten feet to go, I twisted my head again."
--A bit unclear. I think he's looking down from climbing the wall, but it took me a couple reads to get it.

Edited.

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 109: "but I decided P's words had only beguiled me for an instant,"
--Not sure what this means.

Clarified, I think.

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 110: "first brocaded footman who to dart in"
--missing word

Thank you! Actually, didn't delete enough :) 

15 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 114: "C seemed out of ingots."
--what are these ingots?

I'm thinking of small precious metal ingots, not the big 'Goldfinger'-style modern ingots. I presume smaller is more likely at this tech level of society. Images follow... In the way of small, valuable, but portable ways to store wealth, perhaps off the 'official' radar.

small ingot.jpg5b9a0befc43c8_alumingot.thumb.jpg.0a2d764bb741ebb21c860e10c0436dcd.jpg5b9a0bfb1bdef_goldingots.thumb.jpg.f252c454adc48727e6b570d68d35523a.jpg5b9a0c02088ae_copperingot.jpg.df5b97bb2e16c0d411789837bc97864d.jpg

 

Thank you again. Great comments, very much appreciated :)

Edited by Robinski
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Over all, like @Mandamon, I'm mostly confused. The blocking felt shaky and I think there are double-crosses happening? But I don't know?  D pops back up, which I liked,  but I have no clue what she's doing. Is she working with P? Are the kings guards hers, P's, or some third party? And then the mage army, whose are they? I appreciate the gruesomeness of this section, though. Some very strong images!

 

As I go:

J keeps "pulling on the last of the tiger" or "feeling the marrow run out" throughout the whole section and the repeated vague statements of "nearly gone" make the scarcity feel artificial, the way bomb countdowns do on cheesy TV shows ...

I am still not on board with Ch as The One Macguffin. Lady P telling everyone Ch has to live, and now apparently Ch is important to the king AND the diplomats from her home country? Give her some rubies and call her the Maltese Falcon, because everyone seems to be killing themselves to possess her. :/ 

 I noticed the addition of women mooks and mages and I very much approve. :)

I don't understand what D is talking about with P. I also don't understand how suddenly we went from "this one guy committed horrible atrocities so he could cast impossible fireballs" to "there's an army of magical mooks casting fireball everywhere like it's no big deal" ... like, wasn't last section all about how crazy difficult and terrible and awful the things he did to get this power were, and now suddenly there're a bunch of apprentices doing it like it was nothing? I feel like the apprentices really take away some of the importance of discovering P can do the impossible. 

The more I think about it, the more problems I have with D knowing before the reveal that P can do impossible, impossibly destructive things with magic that no one else is supposed to be able to do. Like, why in the world did she send J & co to the house knowing this? If it was "drawing him out" / "make him show his hand" ... well, it feels like P would use fireballs for just about anything, honestly, and additionally, D doesn't do anything with P being exposed. She doesn't use it against him, or do anything that would make me believe she had a plan all along and wasn't, in fact, just sadistically sending J & co off to die.  

The horse scene is nicely gruesome, but I am also confused as to why it's so important that it's in the title. J's nommed on or talked about nomming on plenty of animals to this point, and I can't figure out why this one should stick out above any of the others. The tiger seems more plot-relevant. 

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I'm behind but it's for a really awesome reason I can't talk about yet so... on with the crit!

Overall

Maybe WRS but I'm just very confused as to what is going on. J is betrayed? Is that it? Or a deal went sour? I was also unsure on the outcome of the battle. I think the bones are there and are sturdy, but there's some areas that need expanding and cutting.

On 9/12/2018 at 8:29 AM, Mandamon said:

Where does the army of magic users come from?

I also had this question

On 9/12/2018 at 8:29 AM, Mandamon said:

Again, I think we need more context about the magic system earlier, as it's becoming the defining moment of this novella.

Yes! I completely agree with this

On 9/16/2018 at 0:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I noticed the addition of women mooks and mages and I very much approve

Ditto!

As I go

- page 108: the line about saving his family and saving C... I like it a lot

- 109: “Baaaaackk!” A near formless cry boomed against the night and Krister charged out of the garden like a bull. The great fool lummox lowered his shoulder and hammered into the backs of those trying to subdue C’s attackers. I think this paragraph has too many adjectives

- +1 for woman attacker

- page 111: I think I need 'story magic' built up more, because I think this is supposed to be a big moment, and has the potential to be a big moment, but falls flat because I don't have a proper sense of wonder about magic in this world

- 111: missed opportunity for a lewd joke about 'staffs'

- 112: I have no idea who is talking for most of this

- 115: so... how did the battle end? Even rereading I think I'm still lost

 

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On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Over all, like @Mandamon, I'm mostly confused. The blocking felt shaky and I think there are double-crosses happening? But I don't know?  D pops back up, which I liked,  but I have no clue what she's doing. Is she working with P? Are the kings guards hers, P's, or some third party? And then the mage army, whose are they? I appreciate the gruesomeness of this section, though. Some very strong images!

Thank you so much for reading. These certainly are the sorts of comments that I would have expected, and accept them all! :) 

I will come back to the detailed points, which are very much appreciated, once I get the chance. On holiday at the moment and not getting much time for writing.

Thank you again, ID!

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16 hours ago, kais said:

Maybe WRS but I'm just very confused as to what is going on.

It's not you, it's me. I'm up to my usual tricks of not flagging and tagging stuff well, or not giving the m/c sufficient internal dialogue/deduction to present what is happening.

Thank you for reading, and I will get back to those detailed points as soon as I can. Things will get more writing-centric for me when we get to Paris and it's more relaxing than hauling around Berlin on the tourist trailer.

Thanks again, Kais, much appreciated :) 

<R>

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Hey @Robinski, I caught up on the story this week. Rather then revive all the previous threads I will send you the comments on 5-10 privately. I haven't read any of the other comments so forgive me if I repeat anything others have said. 

Overall: I really felt the intensity of this moment was captured well. it really felt like a desperate struggle. I feel like J is a little wishy washy but that might be just my like of decisive characters in general. there were a few unclear spots to me but that is to be expected in action sequences like this.

As I was reading:

-pg 108, C fell in an arc. This evokes a weird image to me. when someone falls its mostly in a straight line down. she jumps in an arc but then once the fall starts it should move to a straight line downward very quickly. I'm probably getting to nit picky on the physics of falling.

-pg 108, With the way you have been describing the tiger is affecting J I would think he would be thinking of the world in terms of threat and non threat. The lucidity of the thoughts about G are a little weird.

-pg 108, The use of the word murder seems at odds with the way tiger has been described as affecting J. If it is indeed the same thing with C as with J then I would think death would be more appropriate.  murder to me implies conscious human will and evil, death implies a more predatory instinctual thing. 

-pg 111 the line "throw fire as in fireside legends" sounds repetitive. 

-pg 111, In the last paragraph the there needs to be a little more distinction between his animalistic thoughts brought on by the tiger and his more conscious human thoughts. it doesn't feel like the tiger is affecting him even though he says it is.

-pg 114, 1st paragraph, the action sequence isn't clear here. it seems like the attack breaks the momentum of his charge but that isn't the case apparently. Its unclear.

-pg 115, 1st paragraph the flow of the second sentence is weird. might work better with though instead of although.

-pg 115, 2nd paragraph, it sounds like G is in the fetal position on the ground, but I am not sure that is what you are going for.

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I'm sorry this is so late. The past two weeks have been nuts. Between the semester getting under way, gas explosions in Lawrence, MA (where I teach), about 4 or 5 inches of rain in one day, approving final edits for Power Surge, my dog getting sick because of a parasite, and then reading through the ARC and finding out the proof reader missed a lot, it took me a while get to this. I've actually had comments in my kindle for a few days, but I just didn't get a chance to type them up until now. 

As I read

Pg. 110

"We were five..." In this section, I felt distanced from J during the fight because he  paid so much attention to what the others were doing. This is tricky with a fight. As a reader, I do want a sense of what the others are doing, but in this case, I felt you went to far in that direction. It was very objective and calm when describing them and not tiger ragey enough.

Pg. 111

" ...scare their children fireside legends." Something felt off about this sentence but I don't know what it was.

Pg 115

"...at what cost?" This moment was one I though should feel more something, even if J is a little sh*t. But it was very distant and objective aside from one little line about a stomach churning, which was hardly emotion. 

Pg117

"up the bank and thrust" Did she just cut the horses leg off while it was alive and injured? Because that seems unnecessarily cruel. Or did I just miss her slitting its throat? I rushed my read of the scene because I'm a wimp when it comes to hurt animals. 

Overall: The bones of the scene are fine. I liked that C sort of magically leapt out of the burning building. The blocking of the fight was easy to follow. The turn of who was on whose side seemed to work though I do recall being a little confused at one point about which soldiers went with who. I think that was when the bluecoats and the adepts were fighting, but I figured it out. My confusion might have just been because my brain was drained. My big problem was how J seemed to objective. And some of his description of the tiger rage seemed a little tell-y. Other parts were fine. Maybe it was inconsistent? I'd be in his head and all rooting for tiger-raging-J but then I'd be an objective observer that is somehow also participating. You haven't quite hit the right balance yet, but that is something you can work on as you revise later. 

 

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Thanks so much, @shatteredsmooth and @Jorville for your comments. Very much appreciated. I'm on holiday at the moment and therefore very slow in getting back on this, or writing the next bit, because it's not the kind of holiday!! So, I will come back to you, but please do not worry about 'lateness'. Not an issue at all :) 

Edited by Robinski
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And we're back... thank you again ID for the excellent and testing comments.

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

J keeps "pulling on the last of the tiger" or "feeling the marrow run out" throughout the whole section and the repeated vague statements of "nearly gone" make the scarcity feel artificial, the way bomb countdowns do on cheesy TV shows ...

Yes. I was starting to feel this myself, so you confirmation is most helpful. Tagged for revision.

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I am still not on board with Ch as The One Macguffin. Lady P telling everyone Ch has to live, and now apparently Ch is important to the king AND the diplomats from her home country? Give her some rubies and call her the Maltese Falcon, because everyone seems to be killing themselves to possess her. :/ 

Guilty: I've 'discoveried' myself into that particular corner. I don't need her to be important to the king, and the people from her country want to execute her, really, it should only be Lord P who wants her (and Lady P, by extension), and I suppose J. I've got a lot of sorting out to do, to be sure.

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I noticed the addition of women mooks and mages and I very much approve.

I'm learning :) 

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

and now suddenly there're a bunch of apprentices doing it like it was nothing? I feel like the apprentices really take away some of the importance of discovering P can do the impossible.

Yeah, maybe. I could have them be conventionally armed, perhaps. I'll think on that.

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

The more I think about it, the more problems I have with D knowing before the reveal that P can do impossible, impossibly destructive things with magic that no one else is supposed to be able to do.

Again, I don't have a great issue with 'clawing that back', in the sense that D can know he's up to no good without knowing the full extent of the problem.

On 16/09/2018 at 9:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I can't figure out why this one should stick out above any of the others. The tiger seems more plot-relevant.

Yeah, me neither. I still haven't decided what horse does yet, or if I can make it sufficiently significant to deserve the title.

Much appreciated 

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Hi Kais, thank you for reading, much appreciated.

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:
On 12/09/2018 at 5:29 PM, Mandamon said:

Again, I think we need more context about the magic system earlier, as it's becoming the defining moment of this novella.

Yes! I completely agree with this

Yes, still a work in progress, that.

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

the line about saving his family and saving C... I like it a lot

:D cool. I've edited since, but changes are tracked, so if I broke it, I can fix it.

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

I think this paragraph has too many adjectives.

I cut the most boring one.

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

but falls flat because I don't have a proper sense of wonder about magic in this world

Yup, right, I'll get on that.

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

missed opportunity for a lewd joke about 'staffs'

LOL - wrong series, unfortunately. Q would have been all over that staff (joke)... PUN!!

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

I have no idea who is talking for most of this

Added a strategically placed tag. I don't think that track changes help!

On 19/09/2018 at 2:32 AM, kais said:

so... how did the battle end? Even rereading I think I'm still lost

Will underline that in the edit.

Thanks so much to reading. Great comments here :) 

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On 21/09/2018 at 7:39 AM, Jorville said:

I caught up on the story this week. Rather then revive all the previous threads I will send you the comments on 5-10 privately. I haven't read any of the other comments so forgive me if I repeat anything others have said. 

Fantastic, many thanks @Jorville, that is excellent :) 

On 21/09/2018 at 7:39 AM, Jorville said:

I feel like J is a little wishy washy but that might be just my like of decisive characters in general. there were a few unclear spots to me but that is to be expected in action sequences like this.

Fair enough. I suspect it's the fact that the author's isn't sure where the plot is going yet :lol: 

On 21/09/2018 at 7:39 AM, Jorville said:

This evokes a weird image to me. when someone falls its mostly in a straight line down. she jumps in an arc but then once the fall starts it should move to a straight line downward very quickly. I'm probably getting to nit picky on the physics of falling.

I was thinking in terms of horizontal and vertical movement being independent, but I can accept that the word 'arc', although maybe technically correct (there are all sorts of arc, after all), probably is not helpful. I will change it!

On 21/09/2018 at 7:39 AM, Jorville said:

With the way you have been describing the tiger is affecting J I would think he would be thinking of the world in terms of threat and non threat. The lucidity of the thoughts about G are a little weird

This is a good point, coming at something other have mentioned but from a different angle, I think. The whole magic system needs work, so I'm hoping that will take care of a lot of the issues like this.

On 21/09/2018 at 7:39 AM, Jorville said:

The use of the word murder seems at odds with the way tiger has been described as affecting J. If it is indeed the same thing with C as with J then I would think death would be more appropriate.

Yeah, good spot; already been cut actually, replaced with 'violence', but I'm not sure that doesn't suffer from similar issues.

On 21/09/2018 at 6:39 AM, Jorville said:

"throw fire as in fireside legends" sounds repetitive

Changed, thanks.

On 21/09/2018 at 6:39 AM, Jorville said:

there needs to be a little more distinction between his animalistic thoughts brought on by the tiger and his more conscious human thoughts. it doesn't feel like the tiger is affecting him even though he says it is

Fair point, I need to go over the whole thing for consistency, once I have troubleshot and retooled the magic system.

Some good stuff there. Many thanks. So valuable to have another perspective :)

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On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Between the semester getting under way, gas explosions in Lawrence, MA (where I teach), about 4 or 5 inches of rain in one day, approving final edits for Power Surge, my dog getting sick because of a parasite, and then reading through the ARC and finding out the proof reader missed a lot...

Just your regular few days then... :o Please don't give it another thought. Takes me ages to assimilate comments at the moment anyway. No problem; always grateful for the comments.

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I felt distanced from J during the fight because he  paid so much attention to what the others were doing. This is tricky with a fight. As a reader, I do want a sense of what the others are doing, but in this case, I felt you went to far in that direction. It was very objective and calm when describing them and not tiger ragey enough.

Excellent point, touched on by others, but I like how you've packaged it here. Many more passes to come, no doubt, but this is a sound basis to tackle it again, thanks.

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

" ...scare their children fireside legends." Something felt off about this sentence but I don't know what it was.

I think maybe the tracked changes didn't show right on your device? There's an edit here. I'll switch them off next time, but yes, there was something not right there, thanks.

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

This moment was one I though should feel more something, even if J is a little sh*t. But it was very distant and objective aside from one little line about a stomach churning, which was hardly emotion.

I agree. Edited, thanks.

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Did she just cut the horses leg off while it was alive and injured? Because that seems unnecessarily cruel. Or did I just miss her slitting its throat? I rushed my read of the scene because I'm a wimp when it comes to hurt animals. 

No, the narrative specifies 'dead horse'. The line with D saying 'cover its eyes' is for the other horse still living. It's supposed to show she is not an irredeemable monster, just a pragmatist. And I appreciate your fortitude in getting through that. The 'A' warning was primarily for you!

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

The blocking of the fight was easy to follow. The turn of who was on whose side seemed to work though I do recall being a little confused at one point about which soldiers went with who. I think that was when the bluecoats and the adepts were fighting, but I figured it out.

This is good. I've clarified (I think) the bluecoats' position in this. I think there are still points of confusion, but hopefully I don't need to rip the thing apart, but can fix it 'in situ'. I know there is very reasonable confusion among other readers, so I will roll my sleeves up.

On 23/09/2018 at 2:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

My big problem was how J seemed to objective. And some of his description of the tiger rage seemed a little tell-y. Other parts were fine. Maybe it was inconsistent? I'd be in his head and all rooting for tiger-raging-J but then I'd be an objective observer that is somehow also participating. You haven't quite hit the right balance yet, but that is something you can work on as you revise later.

Check. I will work on this in the edit. Thank you.

Great comments, thank you so much for reading :) 

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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On 9/26/2018 at 2:52 AM, Robinski said:

I think maybe the tracked changes didn't show right on your device? There's an edit here. I'll switch them off next time, but yes, there was something not right there, thanks.

Oh, yeah, they probably didn't. I was reading on my kindle because my eyes can only handle so much actual screen time. Yes, the kindle is a screen, but it doesn't light up. 

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On 05/10/2018 at 4:02 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Oh, yeah, they probably didn't. I was reading on my kindle because my eyes can only handle so much actual screen time. Yes, the kindle is a screen, but it doesn't light up. 

Oh, fudge, sorry. I forgot to accept all the changes. There's no tracking in this week's submission. Just in the prior bits, which I'm thinking you maybe shouldn't need to refer to.

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