kais

02/04/19 - kais - Dandelions, Chapters 2-4 (5066 words) (L)

6 posts in this topic

Any and all edits welcome. Changes since last time include: the visits are now only 30 seconds long and they come with a lot of nausea and unfocused vision.

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We're getting more into the plot. I'm glad M finally showed up, and I like the twist with her. However, I had some problems with the complexity of the plan and with the worldbuilding.

Worldbuilding: I really like the dragons as beasts of burden, but everything you show about them makes it clear they are a terrible choice, especially when the colony evidently has pigs, and maybe other mammals. Either you could hang a lantern on it, or maybe change it? That whole section pops me out of the story.

Plot: I didn't really understand the whole glassblowing ritual. I think it's the same problem as the dragons. I'm missing some piece of why this is a thing. We've mostly seen tech, and now this magic pops up without much explanation.

I like the characters in this a lot, however. The whole discussion in the carriage is good, though if you're looking for places to trim, you might be able to take some of the traveling time out and get them to the dock sooner.

Looking forward to the rest!

 

Notes while reading
pg 1: I like that the maybe princess is also a glassblower.

pg 2: The timescale of the dream works better. I still think you could deliver quite a bit of information in 30 second bursts over 20 years, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief for this.

pg 2: I do think O could have a better reason for turning down M's proposal. Xie doesn't really have anything to lose if xie accepts, and also gets to sell at the larger market.

pg 2: "branchwood" is sort of a weird name for a wood. Sounds redundant.

pg 3: “Do you care? Okay I mean, clearly you do, but should you?”
--I'm more interested in why O cares so much.

pg 3: “You and I worked for rich people long enough already."
--they did? Was this mentioned before, or is it WRS?

pg 4: "We travel out of End, which opted against figurehead royalty during colonization "
--Aha...this gives some explanation. I think you buried the lede here.

pg 4: “Yeah fine. You’re not wrong.” 
--ok, then O capitulates rather easily.

pg 5: do the dragons routinely eat people? That seems like there would be a lot of legal problems. I'm wondering why the two are so convinced they'll be eaten.

pg 6: "One of the soiled dragons went down under a powerful jaw"
--Really? And they're still used to pull carts? I would think they would find some alternative...I mean, we know they have pigs at least.

pg 7: I'm not sure juice poured over pig droppings would accomplish much?

pg 8: good end to the chapter

pg 9: "from the grass and juice"
--grass?

pg 10: "had also almost been eaten by dragons"
--which were the ones tied to the coach M came in. Again, if you can't even pick someone up without potentially getting them eaten, it might be better to walk...
I like the humor of the situation, but it's popping me out of the story too much.

pg 10: "how many hours had they spent together overall?"
--mathing...about 60

pg 11: "Wait, you share your mind with a princess? It’s not just me?”
--lol. Nice twist.

pg 12: “You know, that’s really a grey area if you think about it.”
--ok, starting to like M more

pg 14: This picks up a lot once they can have a conversation.

pg 16: "I need a bigger flame to make the tube"
--I have no idea what's going on in this paragraph.

pg 17: "It indicated disastrous consequences for the person inside "
--I'm still not sure what's going on. I assume they're talking about how to perform the ritual, but it feels like I missed an explanation at the beginning.

pg 19: "we have crash the coronation to even get access to the fire"
--I think I missed something else here? What's so special about a flame? Wouldn't M be able to make the right kind of flame if she's a glassblower?

pg 20: Intrigued by O's idea, but I'm having trouble with the complexity of the plot.


 

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25 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Either you could hang a lantern on it, or maybe change it? That whole section pops me out of the story.

Lantern it is!

28 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

We've mostly seen tech, and now this magic pops up without much explanation.

This is my perpetual problem with this anthology piece. I have a hell of a time writing future magic systems. I'll see how I can build magic into the world earlier.... and looking into this just now, it looks like I put a bunch of it into chapter one when I rewrote it after last week. Aheh.

41 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Was this mentioned before, or is it WRS?

WRS and some vagueness on my part. Will punch up.

42 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

mathing...about 60

LOL. Okay, good info to have!

43 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

I have no idea what's going on in this paragraph.

I'll get this all smoothed out. Thank you for the comments! Hoping to get to yours today.

 

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Worldbuilding: I really like the dragons as beasts of burden, but everything you show about them makes it clear they are a terrible choice, especially when the colony evidently has pigs, and maybe other mammals. Either you could hang a lantern on it, or maybe change it? That whole section pops me out of the story.

I have something very similar to this in the notes I made this morning. 

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I didn't really understand the whole glassblowing ritual. I think it's the same problem as the dragons. I'm missing some piece of why this is a thing. We've mostly seen tech, and now this magic pops up without much explanation.

 

The magic could just be really subtly hinted at earlier. Maybe when B comes into it in the first section. I didn't understand anything about the glass blowing, but the lack of previous magic wasn't the main reason. More about that to come.

 

Over all, I think the plot is progressing nicely, but with a few hiccups. You've got a nice but of humor, but a few things pulled me too much out of the story. The characters are very fun, so I think you are mostly achieving your goal.

As I read: 

Page 1:

"You could have just sent a ticket you know" This is O talking, right?

"been to, to meet" Grumping about the two tos together even if technically it is correct. 

"How long have you known...think this will work." I got a bit confused. Why does he think M knows exactly where he lives? The people who may or may not work for her showed up at the market, not his house.…maybe I am being to literal.

Page 2

"Xie had had the control for too long"] But before this O was implying M had the control.

"leaned over the side of the bed, and vomited" Because of all the description and internal thought, this felt longer than thirty seconds, and while the nausea is clear at the end, I didn’t get a sense of any discomfort during the vision itself.

"pushcart fruit vendor whose booth space Orin shared when the market ran, and debated." Confusing wording.

Page 3:

"because my illusions are slight..." Initial reaction: What illusions? I forget if this had been mentioned earlier or not. Maybe it was and I missed it. I suppose I should check. 

After, I did check, and it was mentioned, but very subtly and with no elaboration. I think going back to that scene and working in some of what B does could actually allow you to introduce the magic system and/or hint at it when they think about their past as errand boys. 

“Promise me.” promise what?

Page 4:

Tense shifts once or twice in first paragraph. 

Page 5:

"Orin lobbed first one, then two handfuls at the things, smacking two directly in the face" While I think this whole poop throwing thing is hilarious, it makes no sense to me. Why are they lobbing it if the driver finally got the dragons under control. I’m confused. This is just going to get the dragons going again and cause more chaos. I don't believe mr lion fern is that stupid. If you want to keep the dung flinging, maybe make it so the dragons don't stop?

Page 6

More confusion

"the unmuddied dragons lunged at their compatriot’s faces, smelling only the pig and opportunity" So dragons eat poop? A pig and pig poop smell different. I mean, my dog will eat rabbit droppings but he acts very differently when he smells a rabbit than when he smells its droppings. Dogs are obviously smarter than these dragons, but I feel like some piece of information is missing. Maybe I just don't know something about reptiles that I probably should know.

"...the other almost gleefully chasing behind" Yup – it's making things worse.

Page 8

But I need your help. I’m going to get us separated but to do it, we need to crash a coronation.” Interesting, but it makes me wonder why in the next chapter, they are still thinking M is a princess. 

Page 9

"out the window before he’d feel compelled to speak." I’m surprised he has been quiet this long.

Page 15

“In if you are" Something missing here?

"I promise you won’t be disappointed" What about cashing the note? Getting a change of clothing?           

Page 16

“You want to use the ceremonial flame as a glory hole?”This does get attention as a opening line…

"there was no bank on the boat to cash in Orin’s note" Ok addresses one of the questions I had earlier. Will they be able to cash this across the water in the other kingdom? I guess I don't actually need to know this answer to this yet. 

"A sleeve. A parchment [SC1] sleeve, if we’re being particular" I’m a little lost. Why need the flame and glass material if it needs to be parchment? OR is this not parchment as in paper but something else? 

Page 18

"Highly portable, hardy, a good source of vitamin C if you’re in a bind, and… Why are you staring at me?” I love how he keeps slipping into pitching things.

Page 20

“I’ve got an idea,” xie said, groaning. “But it’s really sticky and I don’t think either of you are going to like it.” Nice ending

I didn't point out too many of the things I like, I realize. I need to get better at that. However, I am enjoying this and think you've got some great personalities in the piece. 

 

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5 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

But before this O was implying M had the control.

Ahahah typo. Urp.

7 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

What illusions? I forget if this had been mentioned earlier or not. Maybe it was and I missed it. I suppose I should check. 

I've pulled it out a touch more in the first chapter. I just don't have the space to really drag it out. Since it's not super plot relevant it may just need to stay subtle.

11 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

up – it's making things worse.

I LOVE IT

All little things and easy enough to fix, especially since some of it was dealt with in edits to chapter one. Thank you!

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On 2/4/2019 at 1:37 PM, kais said:

I have a hell of a time writing future magic systems.

I was thinking about this a bit, and while the background information on the scifi elements is certainly important for you as the author to think about and know, most of where it pops up in the plot feels pretty superfluous to me. I feel like you could probably just cut the words out of the story without much trouble or need for rewriting. 

 

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