Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
shatteredsmooth

Reading Excuses_Jan 28, 2019_The Mindless Nine Part 2 (1800 or 4800) (VG)

6 posts in this topic

Hi All,
 
Originally my plan for this story had been to send both sections and wait to revise until I have feedback on the piece as a whole. I've been going back and forth for the past few days about whether or not I should still do that. The feedback on the first section that implied the piece might be starting in the wrong place, and focusing on the wrong story, and all week, I've been taking things out and adding things to everything that comes after that without making changes to the begining. 
 
I definitely want feedback on the first 8 pages of the attached document as it reveals backstory that will shape how I revise the begining, and the action piece of it is something I can see staying even if I completely rewrite the opening. My questions about this are:
 
 How does that backstory work as a reason for the divide between E and U? Is the middle of the story an okay place to reveal this? How confusing was the way it alternated between past and present? 
 
The rest of it is included but grayed out. I'm aware of a few major problems it has, but I keep getting stuck trying to fix them. I think it will be easier to do after I've rewritten the begining, so while some input might be helpful, it's not essential. 
 
After page 8, I think E reacts more than they act, the story gets two internal in the one section that should be more action driven, and I am certain at least one of the two reveals in the end was poorly set up, though the set up will change anyway when I rewrite the first part. If you do read this part, am I right about the problems it has? Which scenes might be worth keeping in some form? 
 
Thanks!
 
Sara
 
Part 1 recap: After losing their status as heir to Sector 17 and joining the Lunar Gaurd, E is back home to manage the security for their sister's coming of age ceremony. Their sister argues with E about security. E blocks an assassination attempt. Wounded villagers warn them an attack is on it's way. 
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall

This read more like the back end of a short and if I look at it that way, it has good potential. I still want to see that party scene so I can get more information on the world, characters, and sibling interactions though!

Your Questions

How does that backstory work as a reason for the divide between Ulsa and Enzi?

I did not feel there was sufficient backstory and I still don't know why they are divided. Cutting the ceremony out is part of the problem, I think.

 

Is the middle of the story an okay place to reveal this?

I'd prefer upfront, because otherwise I lack emotional buy-in

 

How confusing was the way it alternated between past and present? 

I assume you're referring to the flashback? If you fix the tense issues I don't think it would be an issue.

 

After page 8, I think E reacts more than they act, the story gets two internal in the one section that should be more action driven, and I am certain at least one of the two reveals in the end was poorly set up, though the set up will change anyway when I rewrite the first part. If you do read this part, am I right about the problems it has?

I didn't mind the action scenes. The reveal needs some work but most of my quibbles could be resolved by more buy-in work up front. I detail more below.

 

Which scenes might be worth keeping in some form? 

I vote:

* intro: we go right to coronation, see some conflicted emotion on sis' face, E is paranoid about security, we get some dialogue about 9

* mid: ceremony ends fine, then bubble comes down. OH NOES! Attack!

* mid2: FIGHT

* end: sibling reunion and plot twist that makes sense due to inclusion of intro

 

As I go

- pg 1: you've got tense changes throughout here

- pg 1: if the nine don't show up, as you noted, then telling us about the protections doesn't serve much purpose here. I'd suggest moving it to later. By leading with the party line, I want a party!

- wait, a door closed and cut someone's arm off? From the first few sentences it sounded like we were about to camera zoom to a party. There's a disconnect between the first few lines and the rest of page one, I think.

- E is pretty calm about this lost arm thing

- J lost an arm, yet J isn't screaming? E is calm? MOAR EMOTION pls and thank you

- Okay wait so now the nine are here, but the opening lines said they didn't come? Are the opening lines meant to tell us that the party already happened and the nine didn't come? I don't know if I care for that. The hook was the party, and we got more of a bait and switch, which leaves me grumpy.

- pg 3: not getting any tension from the nine as I don't know anything about them. E's panic doesn't hit home and I'm mostly still concerned about J losing an arm and no one seeming to really care about it. J is bleeding out! Where's the tourniquet? Medics?

- pg 3: this plan is nebulous and since I know nothing about it nor am I invested in the stakes (which I think are SAVE EVERYONE?), I'm having a hard time caring. At this stage, I need:

* backstory on the nine

* to know if J is okay

* what the plan in

* why I care about the party people

- pg 4: the code phrases don't really need explanation. I think it's clear from the text what they are

- I don't know enough about R to care about him yet

- pg 5: goddess statue is cool!

- pg 6: this tense hopping thing needs to be cleaned up before and in the flashback. After a few paragraphs I didn't know if I was back in the main story and they were being attacked too, or if I was still in the flashback

- pg 7: the nine are in the bubble thing, but the beginning said they hadn't shown up? Confusion

- pg 10: at this stage I want to know the story of the castle and the people. Without it, the liberation army here doesn't resonate. Who am I supposed to be cheering for? Who are the nine? Why do they hold the castle? What do giant robots have to do with anything?

- pg 12: why would E's sister hate them? The going through bedrooms part is nice and I appreciate the worldbuilding, but I don't know enough about the sibling dynamic here.

- lilac isn't a proper noun

- the goddess curses still sound clunky. Maybe do the full version the first time and then shorten it? People always shorten things. Maybe first time it's DURN GODDESS BLESS THIS RUBBISH TRASH HEAP (the site won't let me use the words I want) and then the short form is 'ess forsaken' or something shorter

- E is fighting Eld but I don't know who he is or why I care about her yet, making it hard to get into this fight scene

- pg 15: this info about Eld should probably come sooner

- pg 16: 'puppet ruler' has no context because I don't know anything about the world

- pg 17: this 'don't want to be ruler' twist would be so good if we got to see the ceremony and some sibling interaction first!

- pg 17: the parents disapproving line--probably should clarify that's not gender related since I think the anthology doesn't want that sort of stuff? Or possibly I made that rule up in my head. Feel free to ignore

- pg 19: the reveal of sis not wanting to be ruler is dragging too long now. It would make a great end to the story, but not with the extension it has OR with more plot to talk about beforehand. In general though I personally don't care for these 'let's discuss everything to death' endcaps. I'd prefer the story speak for itself, but since this is a discovery draft I totally get how writing it out here is helpful for reformatting the front end.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, kais said:

this 'don't want to be ruler' twist would be so good if we got to see the ceremony and some sibling interaction first!

This. I noted the same below.

I think @kais had the same reaction I did to your questions, so you can take most of my responses as the same. I can see where the story should be going, but there's not enough emotional reaction throughout, to J's arm, to the parent's death, to the triumph over the aunt, to the fear of the M.N....etc.

I also think you need to keep the beginning, but you can slim it down. We really need a lot more interaction between the siblings. That's the core of the story. I'd also like to see a lot more description of the M.N. Why are they scary? What do they do? Is someone controlling them, or are they controlling themselves?

4 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

After page 8, I think E reacts more than they act,

My impression was that they don't emote enough when they react. I was fine with the action scenes, but I need more explanation to event.

4 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

How does that backstory work as a reason for the divide between E and U? Is the middle of the story an okay place to reveal this? How confusing was the way it alternated between past and present? 

I'd rather have most of the divide in the original setup, as Kais suggests. The middle of the story is fine to add some more, but we need hints to start. I was pulled out by the alternating tenses.

as you note at the end, the aunt needs a LOT more setup. I think it could work, but we need more to get that sense of victory at the end.

 

Notes while reading:
pg 1: "the wall rapidly rising around the castle"
--Was this something that came up last time? Otherwise it's a little confusing to introduce it here.

pg 2: "E activated their com, calling P"
--I would think they would run to J to help?

pg 2: "A door just malfunctioned and J lost an arm.”"
--Is J screaming? Flailing around? I want some more reaction to this and from E.

pg 2: "The purple energy field deactivated. The M.N. dropped into the castle. The energy field closed."
--I was sort of ok with this quick description for J losing an arm--sort of a flash of something happening, but this feels like it's missing some description.

pg 3: "E inhaled, digging their fingers deeper into the dirt"
--is E inside or outside the wall?

pg 4: “The M.N. are sealed in the castle, along with everyone but me,”
--Ok, answered that question, but I missed where E was outside. Was that when the arm got cut off?

pg 6: the change from present to flashback was a little jarring. I think it needs some separation there.

pg 7/8: "they could reverse the electricity inhibitors. 
Access Denied flashed across the screen"
--I had to read this twice, as there's no mention of anyone accessing the screens.

pg 9: "J looked back at the other five guards"
--Other guards? I had to look back several pages. You do say there were six guards when J is first introduced, but they're not mentioned after that. I was envisioning just E and J and some bots.

pg 9: "afraid that if they looked back at the people voluntarily marching to what was probably a suicide mission."
--Unfinished sentence.

pg 10: "That was the act of a human assailant, not giant robots programmed for mass destruction."
--How can you tell? And are the nine programmed for mass destruction? Also, need more emotion here.

pg 15: Some misgendering of E in the fight with their aunt?

pg 16: "confirming that the M.N. powered down"
--Hmmm...along with the parent's death, I don't really feel any emotion here. No sense of triumph. The M.N. are never even explored, so I don't know what they've avoided. I'd really like more set-up with the aunt though. She's one of the most interesting characters.

pg 16: “I never wanted to be an heir,” 
--Ah, here's the story. I want to read this one. This makes E seeing the pictures in U's room a lot more meaningful. Some more set up before this point would help.

pg 19: "U used to seem so fragile, but she was stronger"
--I'd like to see more evidence of this.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kais said:

- pg 17: this 'don't want to be ruler' twist would be so good if we got to see the ceremony and some sibling interaction first!

Yay! This alone makes me feel a lot better about the story and more motivated to keep going with it. 

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

- E is fighting Eld but I don't know who he is or why I care about her yet, making it hard to get into this fight scene

 

Eld was giving E a hard time about something in the original party scene but it probably got buried in the too much irrelevant stuff.

1 hour ago, kais said:

- pg 17: the parents disapproving line--probably should clarify that's not gender related since I think the anthology doesn't want that sort of stuff? Or possibly I made that rule up in my head. Feel free to ignore

You are right about the anthology rule. I thought I had gone and edited all that parental disapproval stuff that out, but this was a straggler. I'm glad you caught it. The only disapproval from the parents should be related killing. 

1 hour ago, kais said:

In general though I personally don't care for these 'let's discuss everything to death' endcaps. I'd prefer the story speak for itself, but since this is a discovery draft I totally get how writing it out here is helpful for reformatting the front end.

I feel the same way about other people's endings and then I go and write really drawn out ones, but I will definitely trim it. 

50 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

I also think you need to keep the beginning, but you can slim it down.

Yes! I wasn't planning on cutting it completely. I just had a mental block about how to change it. This may seem kind of backwards, but

 I needed to hear if what I was trying to set up for could work before I went and redid the set up for it. 

54 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

pg 4: “The M.N. are sealed in the castle, along with everyone but me,”
--Ok, answered that question, but I missed where E was outside. Was that when the arm got cut off?

Based on how you and @kais reacted here, I think I really messed up explaining blocking. J is on the other side of a super thick wall with the door or portcullis sealed, so E can't get to or hear J or the others. And you both are completely right about the reaction too. What I was going for was someone's hurt bad and E can't do anything to help.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

pg 15: Some misgendering of E in the fight with their aunt?

I'll watch out for this when I go back to that scene. Thanks!

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

pg 16: “I never wanted to be an heir,” 
--Ah, here's the story. I want to read this one. This makes E seeing the pictures in U's room a lot more meaningful. Some more set up before this point would help.

This is why I need you guys! I thought the original opening when U was arguing with everything about the security was building towards this. I wasn't seeing how little of it was actually coming through.

 

Thank you both for reading it to the end.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Polar Vortex Days are my excuse for the tardiness of this post.

 

Overall: This sections reads a bit rougher than the first part, just from a technical standpoint. I think, like the first part, I'm also missing enough description to really give me a foothold into what's going on.I think the background information here is good, but I feel like it should be the focus of the story, and at the beginning instead of at the end.   I like the revelations in this section however I feel like they need to be built up or foreshadowed more and earlier. Like the first section, I felt reading this like the focus was off. I like E and U and their interaction and want to read more of that. I'm not particularly interested in the assassins.   The Nine of the title feel like almost an afterthought for me, and I wonder if they should even be named and described at all -- a generic assault by an enemy force or assassin-bots would serve the same purpose and not take up description space that I feel like would be better used to flesh out the three primary characters (E, Eld, and U).

 

As I go: 

I was also confused by the arm part. I didn't understand who was where when it happened, and how everyone was suddenly elsewhere afterwards. 

I think E just had a flashback but it was difficult to tell when in time the events were happening, due to the verb tense issues. 

the single tear is kind of an overused cliche, and I am also a little unclear why E is shedding it. 

I'm really confused after E goes into the closet. Blocking, again, mostly. What is going on? The room seems to start out empty, and lit, but then becomes dark and filled with people? There's a hidden room? or hallway? It's very confusing to me. 

Eld twist feels like it comes from nowhere. I'd much rather have more interaction and possible foreshadowing with Eld than the information I got about the Nine, since the Nine weren't even "onscreen" at all.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

generic assault by an enemy force or assassin-bots would serve the same purpose and not take up description space that I feel like would be better used to flesh out the three primary characters (E, Eld, and U).

 

Good idea! 

Thank you! 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.