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Robinski

Robinski - 181009 - AK Dead Horse - Parts 12 and 13 - 4129 words (LVG)

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Dear all,
 
Hopefully the weeks I've missed to get this novella finished will not cause too much in the way of Weekly Reader Syndrome (WRS)!
 
Finished it is, finally, in First Draft form. Please feel free to keep that in mind, but comment on whatever you fancy. All feedback very much appreciated.
 
Please note the tags. I thought twice about the 'G', but I guess there is one moment in particular.
 
Best regards, Robinski
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Glad to get to the end of this at last! It's been a fun read, and I look forward to the next, cleaned-up version. I think it has a lot of potential.
The flow for this last section is pretty good. it's mainly dotting i's and crossing t's to tie everything up. I did enjoy that the method of success was not with magic, but with the implement for magic--good twist. The Lady showing off as a caster was a little surprising, but I guess also pretty likely. Some hints through the text would help make it "inevitable." 


Notes while reading:
pg 118: "My eyes became wet as I stared down at my parents’ gift to me of ten years past"
--Might be WRS, but I don't remember a discussion of the mandolin's past. Even if there was, I think this needs more mentions through the text so we know how important it is and feel the loss. I assume this was an expensive gift, which plays against the family's poverty now.

pg 119: "She might just let me go if we bring them back"
--She who and them who? Since this is a new chapter, probably need to redefine this.

pg 119: "was digging at the end of the bone"
--is this a bone from the horse, or still the ones from the tiger?

pg 119: “A friend indeed.”
--is he? I thought G betrayed them? Or might not have, but in any case, hasn't really proved himself a friend.

pg 120: "for horse marrow held the power of empathy, of influence, of instruction."
--I'd like a bigger reveal with this section. It's very blase at the moment.

pg 121: "lit by lamps that must be sparked by a monkey"
--?? I'm imagining monkey lamplighters. I think you mean monkey bones mean you can cast fire? In any case, this detail just pulls me out of the story at this point.

pg 122: "Then again, why was I surprised that she had a power anchored in cold?"
-Also a big revelation done very subtly, and I'm not sure I understand. Her power is cold-natured by default? I thought the type of bones eaten determined that?

pg 122: "was either a graceful smith or an effeminate butcher."
--"Effeminate butcher" is just...strange. Can butchers not be female?

pg 128: "swing his free arm at her because the light would kill her."
--it took me a couple readings to figure out this is the light P is casting (which I still don't completely understand)

pg 128: "plunged the sharpened handle"
--WRS, or did you establish before that the handle was sharpened?

pg 130: hmm...the ending seems very abrupt to me. I either want more time with the family, or a little more indication of what J and C will do, or what their relationship is now. You basically wrap up by stabbing the bad guy, but I'm sure there are ramifications from killing a lord. Is J escaping? Does he have a king's pardon? Why is he going to Hass?

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Delighted to get your comments, @Mandamon, thank you so much.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Glad to get to the end of this at last! It's been a fun read, and I look forward to the next, cleaned-up version. I think it has a lot of potential.
The flow for this last section is pretty good. it's mainly dotting i's and crossing t's to tie everything up. I did enjoy that the method of success was not with magic, but with the implement for magic--good twist. The Lady showing off as a caster was a little surprising, but I guess also pretty likely. Some hints through the text would help make it "inevitable."

Very encouraging :) I'm very pleased you liked how that played out. Right up until this morning, I had no idea that was how things would play out then it just popped up from the little grey cells. I hadn't thought that far ahead, I never do, so but was satisfying to go back and leave a couple of early notes about the one of the soon handles being sharpened to aid poking at marrow.

Lady P as caster came late too so, as you rightly say, there is no foreshadowing of that, which I will need to do.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--Might be WRS, but I don't remember a discussion of the mandolin's past. Even if there was, I think this needs more mentions through the text so we know how important it is and feel the loss. I assume this was an expensive gift, which plays against the family's poverty now.

Yes, I think the parent gift aspect came to me in that moment, so I'll need to reference it prior.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--She who and them who? Since this is a new chapter, probably need to redefine this.

Urk, yes. D might let Ch go (free from obligation to her compatriots or the king) if they bring in the Lord and Lady P. Not clear enough. Edit required.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--is this a bone from the horse, or still the ones from the tiger?

Horse, thanks. Good fix.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--is he? I thought G betrayed them? Or might not have, but in any case, hasn't really proved himself a friend.

There's a thread there that I thought would play into the endgame, but hasn't, so I'll need to water it down or tie it off or something.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--I'd like a bigger reveal with this section. It's very blase at the moment.

Good shout. I'm onboard with that. I will embellish that reveal.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--?? I'm imagining monkey lamplighters. I think you mean monkey bones mean you can cast fire? In any case, this detail just pulls me out of the story at this point.

Ha-ha. No, it was a cheap shot about needing to be a monkey to climb the metal pole to light the lamp. Failed attempt at local humour. Also, I realise now that it probably came--subconsciously--from Jeff Noon's 'A Man of Shadow' which I am reading at the moment, in which there is a thing called a bulb money (no really, there is).

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

-Also a big revelation done very subtly, and I'm not sure I understand. Her power is cold-natured by default? I thought the type of bones eaten determined that?

Good point. Perhaps it is just J's internal editor editorialising, but whatever the case, I do need to tidy this up. I can do that easily enough by changing his comment to be about the power of cold being her preference, thereby obviating the need to talk about which bones she needs for that. But I still need to go back and foreshadow her ability. [Note to self, have J slip mysteriously when pursuing LadyP in the library.]

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--"Effeminate butcher" is just...strange. Can butchers not be female?

Ha, yes. Oh boy. This was a rush of blood to the head. One of those 'great' ideas that probably falls flat on its face. I'm intersected to hear other takes on this. I'm sure butchers can be female, as I strongly suspect there's nothing precluding them being effeminate. I'll (try to) explain (myself), later...

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--it took me a couple readings to figure out this is the light P is casting (which I still don't completely understand)

Yep. I'm happy to take another shot at the wording. This wasn't the first or second arrangement of this line, but you've underlined my dissatisfaction with it still :)  

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

--WRS, or did you establish before that the handle was sharpened?

No I did not, but I have now, I went back as soon as I wrote that line and foreshadowed the heck out of it. So there is at least one mention (I think I made two, from memory) of the handle being sharpened.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

hmm...the ending seems very abrupt to me. I either want more time with the family, or a little more indication of what J and C will do, or what their relationship is now. You basically wrap up by stabbing the bad guy, but I'm sure there are ramifications from killing a lord. Is J escaping? Does he have a king's pardon? Why is he going to Hass?

Yes, all good questions. Leave them wanting more is one thing, but I agree the ending would be more satisfying with certain of these questions answered. I'm already at 42,000 words, so I've burst the novella limit, but I'm sure I'll be wielding the axe in any case. I'd love to get it down to 35,000, but that might be a big ask. We shall see.

Most excellent comments, thank you so much, and thank you for sticking with it. You have kept me honest (as far as possible) and hauled me up at all the right points. I now need to go back and have another stab (pun intended) at this story. I think however, that I might let it mature for a month or two, and revert to the second book starring the Effete Clotheshorse and his Errant Student: Nanowrimo beckons!!

Seriously though, this story would not be in such good shape without you.

<R>

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Throughout reading this whole thing, I've been impressed by how good of a first draft this is. The writing is clean and there aren't huge gaping logic gaps, but I think of all I've read of this story, this one was the one I liked the least. I think at it's core, the plot and action were there, but in general, it just felt rushed and I kept getting the impression I was missing something. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what that is. Maybe the final battle needs to be drawn out a little more? I was having a hard time picturing it and it almost seemed to easy to kill P, though I did like how in the end, it was a spoon that did him in...except was that spoon long enough to go far enough through his eye to kill him? I'm pretty bad about the biological side of killing characters, so take my question with a grain of salt. 

I liked the line about C saying there was always time to go back for the gold, but the story with the kings spook lady felt like  a loose end not tied up. 

The last scene with J and C at 's family's house was cute, but more like a snippet or tease than full chapter or epilogue.

Overall, just try to slow it down a little more? 

Here are a couple typos:

"..talked purposely towards me" should this be stalked"?

...another jaunt, as you... was that supposed to be are you?

 

 

 

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Hey SC, thanks so much for reading.

I don't disagree with anything that you've said here.

18 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Throughout reading this whole thing, I've been impressed by how good of a first draft this is. - You're very kind, and that is so encouraging and motivating :) 

The writing is clean and there aren't huge gaping logic gaps, but I think of all I've read of this story, this one was the one I liked the least. I think at it's core, the plot and action were there, but in general, it just felt rushed and I kept getting the impression I was missing something. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what that is. - I'm happy to accept that is exactly what it is. I always tend to struggle at the end, because I tend never to work out beforehand how things end, so my ending are discovery written in almost every detail apart from the actual high-level outcome. So, I'm entirely open to going back and adding more detail to the fight, and more substance to the epilogue.

Maybe the final battle needs to be drawn out a little more? I was having a hard time picturing it and it almost seemed to easy to kill P, though I did like how in the end, it was a spoon that did him in...except was that spoon long enough to go far enough through his eye to kill him? I'm pretty bad about the biological side of killing characters, so take my question with a grain of salt. - See above. Also, I'm pretty happy that the spoon will do the job. A normal tea spoon is, what, 4 inches long? Even that is going to lodge in the brain, but J's spoon is more like one of those longer, ice-cream sundae spoons, maybe 8 inches long? Either one would shake up anyone's big, grey, head-sponge.

I liked the line about C saying there was always time to go back for the gold, but the story with the kings spook lady felt like  a loose end not tied up. - Agreed. Dr and Gar need resolution.

The last scene with J and C at 's family's house was cute, but more like a snippet or tease than full chapter or epilogue. - Agreed. Mandamon has collared me on this point, and I suspect you are all forming an orderly queue to wag your fingers at me over this :P I'll do it, I'll do it.

Overall, just try to slow it down a little more? - Yup.

Very much appreciate your comments here, and all the way through - thank you so much for sticking with it!

My plan now is to let the story and the comments mature on the back-burner while I go back to TCC and push that through to the end over Nanowrimo. I hope to come back and edit AK:DH in December / January.

Thank again :D 

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Hoorah! Excited to read the end!

Overall

I loved the end of the fight scene! Very satisfying. I think the end of the last chapter could use a bit more punch though, since I don't think we know enough about J's family to know if C being invited to tea is a Big Deal or not. 

Some of the blocking in the fight scene was confusing, but I think could be easily cleaned up in edits. I'd like more information on C’s battle, too.

On 10/9/2018 at 10:31 AM, Mandamon said:

"Effeminate butcher" is just...strange. Can butchers not be female?

This is a good point. It does assume a male default. You could keep the line if you mentioned the person had, say, a beard or something else heavily masculinizing as a trait

On 10/9/2018 at 10:31 AM, Mandamon said:

hmm...the ending seems very abrupt to me. I either want more time with the family, or a little more indication of what J and C will do, or what their relationship is now. You basically wrap up by stabbing the bad guy, but I'm sure there are ramifications from killing a lord. Is J escaping? Does he have a king's pardon? Why is he going to Hass?

Yes this!

 

As I go

- 118: he's crying and then laughing? I'm confused. I liked the crying over the broken mandolin, but now the laughing and the "I deserved this' part has me confused. WRS?

- 122: power anchored in cold? Is there elemental magic too?

was either a graceful smith or an effeminate butcher. LOL I love this

- this is a really awesome moment: But burning wasn’t everything, I was learning. Might wasn’t everything. It couldn’t be, because some people didn’t have it, and yet they knew how to prevail

- 126: I feel really removed from the action here because it's C that's experiencing most of it. I think we might need more description of what's happening to her in tandem with the stuff from our MC

- 128: AHAHAHAHA spoon to the eye is excellent!

- 130: well that was a very satisfying end to the fight scene

- not sure the very end has as much punch as it could

Edited by kais
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Thanks for reading, Kais, much appreciated.

On 12/10/2018 at 0:31 AM, kais said:

I think the end of the last chapter could use a bit more punch though

Yup. Top of the list, as it will inform some things earlier on.

On 12/10/2018 at 0:31 AM, kais said:
On 09/10/2018 at 6:31 PM, Mandamon said:

"Effeminate butcher" is just...strange. Can butchers not be female?

This is a good point. It does assume a male default. You could keep the line if you mentioned the person had, say, a beard or something else heavily masculinizing as a trait

Yargle. Unconscious bias creeping out. I will address this. I was aiming for an allusion to a non-binary or non-hetro character, but it was spur of the moment, and I've fluffed it. I'll rework this one way or another.

On 12/10/2018 at 0:31 AM, kais said:

- 126: I feel really removed from the action here because it's Ch that's experiencing most of it. I think we might need more description of what's happening to her in tandem with the stuff from our MC

Yes. Accept that. I will show more of Ch part in the action through J's POV. @kais, can I ask you to remove that use of Ch's name please? In fact there are two instances, another near the beginning. Thanks! :) 

Great comments, encouraging and challenging. Thank you!

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Sorry this is late and short. I don't have a lot to say that hasn't been said already by others. I had trouble getting into this section and had to try three times to get it all the way read. Partially that's because I read at work, but I just didn't feel the urgency that I know should be in this section. I know some of the disconnect is WRS, but I think it was also confusion about how everything was set up and played out, and I'm still having trouble caring about J or understanding why P has to be stopped by him, right now. :/  

The only other thing I have to add is some weird speculation I was thinking about. Ch is clearly still the chosen one, she even gets the dramatic final fight with the big bad guy when J is stuck fending off mooks. So, what if you just, like, ran with that? Make it into a Sherlock Holmes and Watson sort of deal where Ch *IS* the hero/Holmes and J is the observer/sidekick Watson character? I feel like it's practically there already, it'd just need some change in focus here and there... 

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On 10/13/2018 at 3:15 AM, Robinski said:

can I ask you to remove that use of Ch's name please?

Agh! Sorry! Did I get them all?

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9 hours ago, kais said:

Agh! Sorry! Did I get them all?

No worries: I do believe you did. Thanks! :) 

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13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Sorry this is late and short. I don't have a lot to say that hasn't been said already by others. I had trouble getting into this section and had to try three times to get it all the way read. Partially that's because I read at work, but I just didn't feel the urgency that I know should be in this section. I know some of the disconnect is WRS, but I think it was also confusion about how everything was set up and played out, and I'm still having trouble caring about J or understanding why P has to be stopped by him, right now. :/

Thanks for reading, and for persisting!! I'll call first draft and admit that I have work to do, probably more on this scene than many of the earlier ones.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

The only other thing I have to add is some weird speculation I was thinking about. Ch is clearly still the chosen one, she even gets the dramatic final fight with the big bad guy when J is stuck fending off mooks. So, what if you just, like, ran with that? Make it into a Sherlock Holmes and Watson sort of deal where Ch *IS* the hero/Holmes and J is the observer/sidekick Watson character? I feel like it's practically there already, it'd just need some change in focus here and there... 

Your suggestion is very interesting, and gives me a lot to think about, especially since one of my main tasks in Edit #1 is providing more and better set-up and rationale for Ch's story. Much to ponder, which I will do subconsciously while this matures in the next couple of months, then consciously in Jan/Feb when I come back to edit.

Your guidance with this story has been so valuable. I am indebted to you for your patient words especially on those subjects that I find most difficult, and am most distant from.

J+Ch+P+K will return!

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And I take a break from my other AK for this AK. (Why do you call it AK? Just idle curiosity.) I do kind of suffer from Weekly Reader Syndrome, but I’ll do by best anyway.

Thoughts As I Go:

J seems to be constantly eating an incredibly large amount of raw marrow and constantly having a hard time with it. Of course, seeing all the marrow I eat is cooked, I can’t confirm whether or not you can build up a tolerance for it.

The horse power is weird, make no mistake. I mean, I suppose it’s symbolic of taming and riding a horse if you stretch it, but horse is usually used as a pack animal or a strength booster. Snakes makes more sense for hypnotism, but they don’t have marrow.

The scene where J decides to target Lady P was well executed. Masterful use of psychology.

Excellent fight scene, but it could use some touch-ups when it came to everyone’s location relevant towards each other.

Overall:

I don’t really have good overall comments, because this is the end of a long submission that I was on/off reading. This submission was good overall, rapid pacing and satisfying conclusion, the one complaint I have was that the horse marrow was slightly deus ex machina for J to use as well as he did.

Edited by aeromancer
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Hi Aeromancer, great to have you around for the end of this and I think very useful to have a slightly disconnected critique of this last piece.

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

And I take a break from my other AK for this AK. (Why do you call it AK? Just idle curiosity.) I do kind of suffer from Weekly Reader Syndrome, but I’ll do by best anyway.

I was looking for an overarching title to tie together several different stories and AK worked very nicely with a novel that I wrote in the same world. The geography and place names are based on a transposition of a real world location, hence the super title AK. BUT, some dastardly chap has used it already, so I'm in a bit of a quandary. I continue to use it as a working title, but I'm 99% sure I going to have to change it.

P.S. would you mind replacing the full version of 'A------ K------' in your post with the abbreviation? I suppose it's not that common, but G**gle being what it is, these posts might pop up when people are searching for the other chap's work :) 

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

J seems to be constantly eating an incredibly large amount of raw marrow and constantly having a hard time with it. Of course, seeing all the marrow I eat is cooked, I can’t confirm whether or not you can build up a tolerance for it.

This is a fair point. I'm not sure about constantly, but certainly there is a bit of dog (not that much); the tiger (x2) and the horse. I haven't had a complete read through from anyone (including myself) yet, so I'll tag this for Edit #1.

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

The horse power is weird, make no mistake. I mean, I suppose it’s symbolic of taming and riding a horse if you stretch it, but horse is usually used as a pack animal or a strength booster. Snakes makes more sense for hypnotism, but they don’t have marrow.

Interesting point. I think I'll need to mull on this one. Again, tagged for Edit #1.

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

The scene where J decides to target Lady P was well executed. Masterful use of psychology.

I'm glad this worked for you. That 'm' word is a really strong one, but I won't look the gift horse in the mouth (pun intended, of course!).

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Excellent fight scene, but it could use some touch-ups when it came to everyone’s location relevant towards each other.

Yes. Others have said as much. I'll call first draft on it, but it's good to have what is hopefully a sound base to develop. I'm looking forward to working in more of Ch's action into, although it will kill the word count. I already need to slash a fair bit to get to novella length.

3 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I don’t really have good overall comments, because this is the end of a long submission that I was on/off reading. This submission was good overall, rapid pacing and satisfying conclusion, the one complaint I have was that the horse marrow was slightly deus ex machina for J to use as well as he did.

Not quite sure what to do about horse, but I'll think about it. I'm glad there are aspects working for you, and thanks for all your comments! :) 

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There is a line earlier about storybook magic, where J uses the term making a reference to it not existing (i.e. fireballs and such).

Wouldn't you blinking know it 'The Name of the Wind' page 96, third paragraph...bah!

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